By David Carnevali and Mike Stone
(Reuters) – Ball Corp, the world’s largest supplier of beer cans, plans to sell its business that supplies aerospace and national defense equipment, such as sensors and antennas, for more than $5 billion, said Friday of people close to the file.
Divesting the aerospace business, which accounted for 13% of Ball’s consolidated net sales in 2022, would allow the Westminster, Colo.-based company to focus more on its beverage packaging business and reduce its debt. about $9.7 billion.
Ball launched an auction process to sell the aerospace unit in recent weeks, the sources said. The venture has attracted interest from major defense firms, such as BAE Systems Plc and Textron Inc, as well as private equity firms, the sources added.
No deal is certain, said the sources, who requested anonymity as the matter is confidential. Spokespersons for Ball, BAE Systems and Textron did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ball, who has a market value of around $17 billion, established his aerospace division in the 1950s. He flourished to become a key entrepreneur in fields such as earth sciences, aerial exploration and national security and intelligence programs.
Ball’s aerospace technology enables the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to map the world’s water resources and helps the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration track weather conditions. It also serves commercial clients.
The aerospace business generated stable but limited cash flow for Ball, representing $170 million of its comparable operating profit of $1.45 billion in 2022.
(Reporting by David Carnevali in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)