Bilcare to buy INEOS Global Films business

Packaging research groups buys up production outfit for €100m

Bilcare, a provider of research led packaging to the global pharmaceuticals industry, is set to buy INEOS Group's Global Films business for about €100m, under a binding agreement signed between the companies.

The contract includes the assets, business and personnel related to INEOS' Films operations located in North America, Europe and Asia.

Iain Hogan, CEO of INEOS Films, said: "Bringing together Bilcare's research and development focus with our own broad production and application knowledge provides a very strong strategic fit.

"This agreement with Bilcare will put INEOS Films assets and people at the centre of a new business with the innovation and drive necessary for it to grow and further develop, which is good for the business and its customers globally."

Heinz Gaertner, executive chairman of Bilcare, said: "This transaction presents a unique opportunity and enhances our offer to apply our led approach to a broad range of industries, currently served by INEOS Films, particularly in Europe and US."

Bilcare and INEOS said that the transaction is expected to be completed at the end of August, subject to necessary regulatory filings and approvals, including German Court and approvals under applicable antitrust laws and regulations.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.