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Sonoco (SON) to Buy Skjern Paper to Expand Presence in Europe

Sonoco Products Company SON announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Denmark-based Skjern, a privately owned manufacturer of paper, for $88 million in cash. The acquisition will expand SON’s production capacity and help it capitalize on the growing market for sustainable paper and packaging products in Europe. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to both earnings per share and cash flow.

The buyout is unanimously approved by Sonoco’s board of directors. Subject to fulfilling the customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Founded in 1965, Skjern is a leading producer of high-grade paperboard from 100% recycled paper for rigid paper containers, tubes and cores, and other applications. The company has sustainability programs in place for renewable energy and CO2 emission reduction. Its operations are powered by a biomass boiler, which lowers the dependency on natural gas. Skjern is expected to generate sales of around $50 million in 2022.

Skjern’s high-quality output from efficient and low-emission operations aligns with Sonoco’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. This acquisition is in sync with SON’s strategy to invest in its core businesses while expanding in Europe’s growing market for sustainable paper and packaging products.

On Jan 22, 2022, Sonoco completed the acquisition of Ball Metalpack for a cash payment of $1.35 billion. Ball Metalpack is a foremost producer of sustainable metal packaging for food and household products and the largest manufacturer of aerosol products in North America. SON expects to realize tax benefits of $180 million from the deal. It expects to generate annual synergies of at least $20 million from procurement and SG&A savings within three years of the transaction.

Price Performance

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Sonoco’s shares have lost 7.5% in the past year compared with the  industry’s decline of 13.5%.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Sonoco currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the Industrial Products sector are  Tenaris TS, CECO Environmental CECE, W.W. Grainger Inc. GWW. While TS flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), CECE and GWW carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see  the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Tenaris delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 34%, on average. Earnings estimates have increased 8% for fiscal 2022 in the past 60 days. TS’ shares have risen 22% in the past year.

CECO Environmental delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 29.1%, on average. Earnings estimates have increased 17% for fiscal 2022 in the past 60 days. The CECE stock has gained 28% in the past year.

Grainger’s earnings surprise in the last four quarters was 7.9%, on average. In the past 60 days, its earnings estimates have increased 4% for 2022. The GWW stock has gained 21.3% in the past year.

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