South African container glassmaker Nampak has told shareholders it is selling its glass division.

"To ensure the long-term profitability of glass and to address the operational skills gap, the board has resolved to approach packaging industry players to invite proposals for the sale of the glass business," it said.

Exploratory discussions had been held with a number of strategic partners and a formal corporate finance disposal process was in process, it said.

It is thought the business could end in foreign hands as competition authorities are unlikely to agree to a deal with the sole other South African container glassmaker, Consol Glass.

In November 2011, Nampak spent R938m to acquire the 50% of its glass business it did not own from joint venture partner, German-based Wiegand-Glas.

At the time Nampak CEO Andrew Marshall said the acquisition was part of a strategy of "investing in our core businesses where we believe we have competitive advantages".