Imerys recently announced that it will increase prices on North American Performance Mineral grade pigments, effective January 15, 2004. The price increases affect calcium carbonate and kaolin products with an average increase of 5%. "Over the past several years Imerys Performance Minerals has been successful at improving plant efficiencies and reducing overall costs in order to maintain our pricing levels," said Daniel J. Moncino, vice president and general manager of Imerys' North American Performance Minerals Division. "However, during this past year, we have experienced extraordinary price increases on energy and healthcare, which have had a direct negative impact on our costs for production, freight, packaging and labor. Unfortunately, we can no longer continue to absorb these escalating costs. This price increase is necessary to continue our long-term commitment to be a high-quality product innovator and provide the level of support and delivery logistics our customers expect."