SPG’s Winning Gamble with P&G

Largest black-owned carton company signs $100 million deal with Procter & Gamble

Just months ago, Specialized Packaging Group (No. 85 on the BE Industrial/Service 100 list with $24.8 million in sales) acquired Lawson Mardon Carton Co. of North America for $24 million. Now, that hefty investment is paying big returns as the company has just signed a record $100 million, three-year contract with Procter & Gamble.

“We are particularly enthusiastic about this business award,” says Carlton L. Highsmith, president and CEO of SPG. “We’ve been doing business with P&G for quite a few years and developed a good track record.”

SPG, the largest minority-owned carton manufacturing company in the U.S., will now take its packaging global with P&G’s Fabric and Home Care powder line which includes products such as Tide, Cheer, Swiffer, Puffs, Always and Gain.

Highsmith’s company gained recognition for its innovative package designs of Reach toothbrushes and Bigelow tea. However, Highsmith credits the Lawson Mardon acquisition as the qualifying factor in the largest contract yet signed by P&G with a supplier in its Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program, which aims to aid in the development of minority-owned businesses. He says the purchase gave his company both the manufacturing capability and expertise to do the work required by P&G.

P&G spokesman Simon Denegri says Highsmith’s 16-year-old company simply met their criteria. “SPG is providing a quality product that meets our business needs,” Denegri says. “And they are able to do that on a global basis for us.”

From now through until December 2001, the Hamden, Connecticut-based SPG will receive $33.5 million annually, significantly boosting its current annual sales of $75 million. After the three years, Highsmith says he expects SPG to earn the right to renew its contract with P&G.

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