Vermont Marble Sale Is Off

By Bruce Edwards

November 9, 1992

Negotiations to sell the 122-year-old Vermont

Marble Company of Proctor to Gawet Marble and Granite

have broken off, according to a Gawet Company


Gawet president Monica Gawet said recently that

plans for the Center Rutland company to buy Vermont

Marble from Pluess Staufer Industries have been put

"on hold" after negotiations to buy the company fell


"We're very disappointed that things didn't work

out," said Gawet. She said the family-owned company

had been negotiating with Pluess Staufer since June to

buy the larger marble company, but those talks broke

off late last month. She declined to say if

negotiations would resume.

The Gawet Company recordly was close to

completing the deal, but Gawet declined to discuss in

detail why it fell through. Although it was

apparently not the only reason, Gawet said that

financing was one problem.

"The banks are extremely conservative and are

not ... supporting healthy Vermont businesses," said

Gawet, a formal federal bank auditor. "They don't

want to take any kind of risk."

Pluess Staufer spokesman Robert Congdon declined

to comment or even confirm that negotiations had taken

place with Gawet. Congdon said that Vermont Marble

has been for sale since shortly after Pluess Staufer

bought the company in 1976. He said the marble

company is still for sale and would continue to

operate as usual. He said Vermont Marble employs 70

workers at its plant and quarries.

The sale had it gone through would not have

included Vermont Marble's quarries or its power

division which provides electricity to the plant and

to the Town of Proctor, according to a source familiar

with the negotiations who spoke on condition of


Pluess Staufer Industries is owned by Pluess

Staufer AG of Oftringen, Switzerland, a multi-national

company and the world's largest manufacture of calcium

carbonate, a filler used extensively in the

manufacture of paint, paper, and plastics products.

The company reportedly paid between $7 million

and $10 million in 1976 for the stock in Vermont

Marble and its subsidiary businesses, according to

sources familiar with the sale. The proceeds from the

sale went to the Robert and Mortimer Proctor family

trusts and to some 90 stockholders.

Pluess Staufer's main interest in acquiring

Vermont Marble was for its large marble reserves

particularly the Danby and the Brandon-Middlebury


Marble, along with chalk and limestone, are the

three minerals that are used in the manufacture of

calcium carbonate. Among its U.S. holdings, the

company operates a large calcium carbonate operation

in Florence and a limestone operation in California.

Vermont Marble specializes in the structural

stone business and provides headstones for the

Veteran's Administration. The company has landed

several (unreadable) contracts in recent years,

including the Canary Wharf project in London.

However, Congdon said the structural stone business

had been in a slump for the past three years.

Gawet, on the other hand, said her business had

seen a slight increase over the past year. In

particular, she said there had been a healthy increase

in commercial and residential orders in the $50,000 to

$100,000 price range. Gawet also does a significant

amount of monument and headstone work, including

monument refurbishing.

The sale of Vermont Marble to the Swiss company

was noteworthy at this time because it marked the end

of the Proctor family's control of the company that

was founded in 1870 by Col. Redfield Proctor. The

Proctor family not only became an economic force in

the state, but in political force in local and state

politics. Over the years four Proctors served as

governor of Vermont.