Unifrax Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the worldwide ceramic fiber business of Carborundum Insulation Technologies (CIT), an operating unit of Compagne de Saint-Gobain. The purchase price was not disclosed. In addition, the acquisition of CIT will include the French ceramic fiber operations of Saint-Gobain (formerly operated as Kerlane), which will make Unifrax/CIT the largest supplier in the French market. CIT also owns a majority of Orient Cerlane Ltd., a key producer located in India. CIT had 1999 ceramic fiber sales of approximately $80 million.
Saint-Gobain decided to divest its ceramic fiber business because it was not viewed as core and could be more effectively grown by Unifrax. Olivier Duval, president of Saint-Gobain’s High Performance Refractories Division commented, “Although we were enthusiastic about the future prospects of CIT, we felt growth could be more effectively achieved in concert with Unifrax, whose only business is ceramic fiber. They can bring greater focus to the effort. We feel the combination will be a successful one and believe it is in the best interest of our CIT employees.”