International News - Supplier Profile: From Imetel to Imerys

April 26, 2000
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On September 22, 1999, Imetal, the France-based industrial minerals giant, announced that it had chosen its new name—Imerys. The name change underlines a shift in the company’s attentions away from its traditional base of non-ferrous metals to the non-metallic markets of ceramics, building materials, refractories and pigments. In fact, with the sale of the company’s sole remaining metal concern, Copperweld, Imerys has effectively repositioned itself as the world’s leading mineral processor, with high value products sold across a diverse range of industries.

The change in name also coincided with a restructuring of the group’s operations. Activities are now divided into four core businesses, namely Ceramics & Specialities, Building Materials, Refractories, and Pigments & Additives. Of these businesses, which involve 12,500 employees in over 20 countries around the globe, it is the ceramics business that was most bolstered in recent times with the acquisition of UK-based ECC International.

The Ceramics & Specialities business produces and supplies kaolin, ball clay and ceramic bodies to the tableware, sanitaryware, and wall and floor tile industries worldwide. In addition to these sectors, the group’s natural and synthetic graphites find applications in areas such as alkaline batteries, lubricants and brushes for electric motors.

But while the restructuring has been major it has not been total. For example, the Ceramics & Specialties group will continue to promote and market its ceramics products as ECC under their existing tradenames, with the only slight change being that the logos will be endorsed with a slogan stating that ECC is “a member of Imerys.”

As the global raw materials business becomes ever more competitive, Imerys intends to retain its competitive edge by moving closer to its customers through the provision of tailor-made solutions that combine product performance and quality. In addition, Imerys will continue to work toward its goal of capturing new markets through broadening its range of products and taking strategic positions in countries as yet untouched by the company’s marketing operations.

It is this policy of consistent growth that the company considers will ensure the continued expansion of its current product base, and thereby create a wealth of exciting opportunities for its customers—both old and new.

For More Information

Contact J. Thomas Kilgore, Director of Sales & Marketing, Americas Ceramic Group, ECC International Inc., 100 Mansell Court East, Suite 300, Roswell, GA 30076; (770) 645-3411; fax (770) 645-3384; e-mail tommy_kilgore@ecc.com.

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