Ceramic Industry

Imerys to Acquire Feldspar Corp., Astron China (posted 9/11/07)

September 11, 2007
Imerys has signed final agreements regarding its acquisition of The Feldspar Corp., a subsidiary of Zemex Corp., and all of the operating Chinese subsidiaries of Astron Limited.

Imerys has signed a final agreement regarding its acquisition of The Feldspar Corp., a subsidiary of Zemex Corp. that includes its feldspar and kaolin activities. In 2007, The Feldspar Corp. achieved sales of over $30 million, mainly in ceramic applications. It has high-quality mineral reserves, two feldspar production units in North Carolina and Georgia, and a kaolin facility in Florida. This operation, which consolidates Imerys’ positions in minerals for the ceramic market in North America, provides a substantial potential for industrial synergy.

Imerys has also announced that it signed a final agreement with Astron Limited for the acquisition of all of its operating Chinese subsidiaries (Astron China) for an enterprise value (debt and cash free) of Rmb 1.25 billion (~ $166 million). Based in Shenyang, Astron China has four plants and eight distribution centers in China. With 580 employees and a strong management team, Astron China is reportedly a major player in the production, marketing, trading and worldwide sales of a range of zircon-related products, primarily zircon sand and flour, fused zirconia, and zirconium chemicals. Astron China generated approximately Rmb 1.18 billion (~ $157 million) for its last financial year (ended June 30, 2007) and operating income of Rmb 123 million (~ $16 million).

It is expected that this acquisition will allow Imerys to enlarge its Fused Minerals activities while expanding its product range in its key refractory, ceramic and investment casting markets; substantially deepening its production presence, distribution infrastructure and sales penetration in China; and having a global production base for fused zirconia, including the UCM facility in the U.S. Closing of the acquisition remains subject to approval by Astron China’s shareholders and appropriate regulatory authorities in China. It is currently expected to take place in October or November 2007.

Visit www.imerys.com for additional information.