Just recently an announcement from Chicago-based American National Can and Silgan Corp. of Stamford CT reports that Silgan will buy ANC's Food Metal & Specialty business. With net sales of $597 million in 1994 the business produces metal cans and plastic containers used in the food industry as well as metal closures for food and beverage producers. The assets being sold include 16 plants in the U.S. Silgan which operates 33 manufacturing facilities in North America makes a variety of metal containers for food products as well as custom-designed plastic containers for health and personal care products. Net sales in 1994 were $861 million. Just a few weeks prior to the Silgan/ANC announcement came news of an even bigger deal as Crown Cork & Seal of Philadelphia PA said it agreed to acquire Car-naudMetalbox SA of France for nearly $4 billion. The deal is expected to create a firm with more than $10 billion in annual sales making it the dominant player in the increasingly global packaging industry. The purchase gives Crown "a world-wide foundation for continued international growth" said Crown chairman and CEO William J. Avery. Both Crown and Carnaud make a variety of plastic and metal containers used widely in the food and beverage industries. But according to a story in the Wall Street Journal of the 342 factories the two firms operate world-wide only six European aerosol can plants are redundant. The story also notes that according to a study by France's Paribas Capital Markets more than 30 different packaging companies have been "gobbled up by other firms" either partially or completely since 1993.