Ceramic Industry

Searles Valley Minerals Acquired by Nirma Limited (posted 6/30/08)

June 30, 2008

Sun Capital Partners, Inc. recently announced that two of its affiliated portfolio companies, Searles Valley Minerals Operations Inc. and Searles Valley Minerals Inc., have been sold to Nirma Limited, reportedly one of the largest producers of synthetic soda ash in the world. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Searles Valley is a leading producer of inorganic chemicals such as soda ash, sodium borates, boric acid and sodium sulfate.

Soda ash is integral to the manufacture of most glass products and is also used in water treatment and as a detergent intermediate. Borate products are used in a wide variety of applications, the largest of which are in fiber glass, specialty glasses and ceramics. Searles Valley’s sodium sulfate products are key components in powder detergent formulations, pulp and paper processing, and glass manufacturing.

Searles Valley has three main manufacturing facilities located in Trona, Calif. In addition to its production assets, the company operates a 67-MW/hour co-generation power plant, has a joint venture in port operations in Long Beach, Calif., leases and operates its own port/berthing facility in San Diego, and owns and operates a 31-mile short-line railroad.

“We would like to thank the Searles Valley management team for the great contribution that they have made to the success of our investment and wish them every success with Nirma,” said Michael B. Fieldstone, principal of Sun Capital Partners.

“We are excited to be working with Nirma,” said John Tancredi, president and chief executive officer of Searles Valley. “I am confident that their experience in soda ash operations, coupled with our own, and our collective experience in the global inorganic minerals markets will be valuable as we build our business.”

For more information, visit www.svminerals.com or www.SunCapPart.com.

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