Evansville Courier & Press: Sen. Dan Coats hears of Berry Plastics growth during tour

By Susan Orr

During a tour of Berry Plastics’ Evansville design center Friday afternoon, company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Rich issued a challenge to his guest, Sen. Dan Coats.

The two, and a small group of other Berry employees and guests, entered a consumer research area filled with grocery products for which Berry produces plastic packaging.

The area serves as a hands-on lab where the plastics maker can demonstrate its products in a real-life setting. Everything in the room, from loaves of bread to bottles of aspirin and sports drink, uses Berry-made packaging…

Berry has been in growth mode recently — it announced just last month it plans to add 115 jobs at its Evansville headquarters. Worldwide, the company has some 15,500 employees at 85 plant locations.

Coats said he hoped the Berry visit would give him insights into the company’s success.

“It’s valuable for me to visit places that are growing,” the senator said.

Coats’ visit was arranged by the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that promotes the private equity industry.

During its history, Berry has been owned by a series of private equity firms: First Atlantic Capital, Goldman Sachs affiliate GS Capital Partners, and most recently Apollo Global Management and Graham Partners.

Berry went public in October, but Apollo is still a majority owner of the company.

Rich said Berry’s various private-equity investors and owners have been “hugely responsible for the growth and success of the company.”

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