• Unit received interest from BC Partners, Carlyle Group
  • Company is looking for ways to cut debt after buying spree

Ardagh Group will move ahead with a U.S. listing of its metal-containers unit Oressa Ltd. after bids from private-equity firms came in below expectations, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Offers for the business, which makes steel and aluminum cans for food storage, were less than Ardagh’s threshold after potential buyers discovered a pension deficit of about 300 million euros ($336 million), said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The pension fund issue has made an initial public offering more attractive to Ardagh, the people said, given that investors typically don’t price the factor into their valuations. The glass-and-packaging group may now begin the process of bringing the unit to market before the end of the year, the people said.

Private-equity firms including BC Partners, Carlyle Group and Onex Corp. were among the firms that expressed interest in the division, valued at about 2.4 billion euros, people familiar with the situation said in August. Oressa posted earnings of about 300 million euros last year, the people said then.

Ardagh, controlled by Irish financier Paul Coulson, will use proceeds from the IPO to repay debt. The Luxembourg-based company, which has significant operations in Dublin, has borrowed about 5.5 billion euros to finance a series of acquisitions over the past decade to become one of the largest glass-container makers in the world.

A spokesman for Ardagh declined to comment.

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