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Published: Friday, 10/21/2005

O-I buys share of Russian glass-container company

Owens-Illinois Inc. is making its first ownership foray into Russia by purchasing a minority stake in a company owned by one of that country's largest producers of alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.

The Toledo firm announced yesterday it was putting $6 million into a glass container plant near Moscow which is owned by OST Tara. O-I gets a 19 percent stake in the Russian company in exchange, said spokesman Kelly Yoder.

The OST Tara plant, owned by the OST Group, produces more than 200 million glass bottles per year and has room to expand, O-I said.

Prior to the Russian plant opening in May, 2004, the OST Group purchased bottles from O-I's operations in Finland as well as from other suppliers.The Toledo Fortune 500 firm, which has more than 100 factories in 23 countries, is one of the largest glass container producers in Eastern Europe and is tops in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Finland.

Steve McCracken, O-I's chairman and chief executive, said, "This venture will give us an opportunity to grow with an important customer as well as provide a foundation for growth in the Russian glass markets in general."

As part of the deal, O-I has options to acquire a controlling interest in OST Tara. Details were not disclosed.

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