Sonoco, Hartsville, S.C., said it acquiredAssociated Packaging Technologies, Inc . (APT), North America's largest manufacturer and supplier of crystallized polyethylene terepthalate (CPET) containers to the frozen food industry.

Harris E. DeLoach Jr., Sonoco chairman, president and CEO, said the all-cash purchase price -- including the cost of paying off various obligations of APT -- was approximately $120 million, subject to certain possible adjustments. He said the acquisition is expected to be modestly accretive in 2010 and is expected to generate annualized sales of approximately $150 million. The transaction closed on June 29, 2010. APT was previously majority owned by investment funds controlled byCastle Harlan, Inc .

Founded in 1993, APT is a leading provider of dual-ovenable, food packaging serving the frozen food industry in North America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand, officials said. APT operates four CPET thermoforming manufacturing facilities in Cambridge, Ont., Canada; Chillicothe, Mo.; Waynesville, N.C.; and Carrickmacross, Ireland, and employs more than 400 workers.

In addition to being able to manufacture approximately 3 billion CPET containers annually, APT has monolayer and multilayer barrier polypropylene container capabilities. The company also is a pioneer in the development of recycled PET (RePET) frozen food trays, officials said.

"With this acquisition, Sonoco has significantly expanded its existing thermoforming plastic container capabilities into the growing global frozen, chilled and ready-to-eat food markets," said DeLoach. "While APT is today the leading global supplier of CPET containers, we believe its proprietary material formulations and rotary thermoforming technology provide a strong platform for significant product development and growth. In addition, this acquisition will help accelerate Sonoco's current development of multilayer barrier polypropylene food containers."

Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a $3.6 billion global manufacturer of industrial and consumer products and provider of packaging services, with more than 300 operations in 35 countries, serving customers in some 85 nations.