Equistone tightlipped over ‘glass company

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THE private equity group behind Allied Glass, which makes bottles for Smirnoff vodka and Grant’s whisky, declined to comment on a report that it has hired advisers to review the options for the bottle company.

It is thought that the Leeds-based firm could be sold for as much £150m, twice the amount it paid for it in 2010.

Allied Glass has benefited from soaring demand for premium Western brands in emerging markets such as China, India and Russia.

Private equity firm Equistone has reportedly hired advisers at Rothschild to look into options for Allied Glass.

The glass company makes bottles for drinks giant Diageo and Napolina, the olive oil firm,

It recently completed a multi-million pound investment at its manufacturing site in Knottingley.

Equistone, which was formerly part of Barclays, bought Allied Glass in a secondary buyout deal worth £75m in April 2010.

It has since seen very strong growth and recently reported annual sales of more than £100m.

Equistone declined to comment on the report and Allied Glass was not available for comment.

Allied Glass is setting its sights on international expansion as its biggest customers expand their presence in fast-growing new markets like Brazil.

Alan Henderson, managing director, said the “next step” for Allied Glass is to look at how it can support the global growth of customers like Diageo.

Other key Allied customers include William Grant, Chivas Brothers and Greene King.

Mr Henderson said Allied will continue to invest in high-end packaging – such as extra-white glass – to help its end users target new markets.

Consumers in emerging markets look for heritage, history and a premium feel, added Mr Henderson.

Allied benefited last year from its decision to focus on higher margin work. Mr Henderson said: “We have moved away from being a local supplier of what can be seen as commodity products.”

Turnover during the year ending was up five per cent to £102m. Earnings before interest, tax, debt and amortisation rocketed 11.8 per cent to £19.9m, according to latest accounts for the year ending December 15, 2012.

Allied invested £4.5m in a new furnace last year to increase capacity by 10 per cent and save energy.