Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Rexam Plc is a British multinational consumer packaging company headquartered in London. It is the largest manufacturer of beverage cans in the world and a leading producer of rigid plastic packaging. It has around 70 plants in 25 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

Rexam is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

1881 The company was founded by William Vansittart Bowater in London selling paper.

In 1923 his son, Eric, began the work that refocused the business into paper manufacturing under the name Bowater Paper Mills.

1956 The Company diversified into tissue manufacturing in 1956 forming Bowater-Scott, a joint venture with the Scott Corporation.

1984 Demerger of the North American newsprint and pulp operations, as Bowater Inc

1987 Acquired Rexham Corporation, a manufacturer of plastic, paper and foil, based in North Carolina.

Bowater Industries plc, as the UK-based firm was known after the de-merger, became a business with five functionally organized operating groups:

   Packaging and industrial products
   Builders' merchants group
   Building products group
   Freight services group
   Australian group.

In the UK, the manufacture of packaging was the leading activity, and the building products activities were mostly in the United Kingdom and Europe.

1995 the name was changed to Rexam, an abbreviation of the name of one of the Company's subsidiaries, Regal Paper America, and the business was refocused again – this time into consumer packaging.

2005 Rexam disposed of its glass manufacturing businesses to Ardagh Glass Group so as to concentrate on its beverage can production worldwide. It then went on to acquire O-I Plastics, a plastic packaging business in North America, in 2007.

In June 2011 Rexam agreed to sell its lid-making operations to the U.S. based Berry Plastics for £222 million (US$360 million).

2014 Rexam acquired 51 percent of United Arab Can Manufacturing Ltd

Rexam has around 70 plants in 25 countries and employs around 19,000 people. Its operations span Europe, the Americas and Asia.

2016 Ball Corporation acquired Rexam, creating one of the world's largest consumer-packaging suppliers. Ball was required to sell 8 U.S. aluminum can plants.

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