Pluess Staufer Fails in Bid
To Buy George Marble Company
July 22, 1995
By Bruce Edwards
Pluess Staufer AG, the Swiss company that
operates a major calcium carbonate plant in Vermont,
was beaten out by a French company to acquire Georgia
The 111-year-old Georgia Marble Company announced
this week that it is being acquired by Dry Branch
Kaolin Company, a subsidiary of French-owned kaolin
mining concern Imetal SA.
The sales price was not disclosed, but Georgia
Marble reported $100 million in sales last year.
"Pluess Staufer was interested in certain
aspects of Georgia Marble, but we weren't interested
in breaking the company up" Georgia Marble Company
president A.L. "Sonny" Gay said Thursday from company
headquarters in Kennesaw, GA. He added that Pluess
Staufer was one of the several companies that had
expressed interest in acquiring Georgia Marble.
Gay said Pluess Staufer's bid was too low and
that the owners of Georgia Marble felt the company was
worth more in its entirety than sold off in pieces.
Pluess Staufer, whose OMYA subsidiary operates a
calcium carbonate plant in Florence, Vermont, operates
a similar operation in Alabama as a joint venture with
Calcium carbonate and kaolin are used as fillers
or extenders in the manufacture of paper, paint and
plastics products. Calcium carbonate is made from
crushed marble, limestone or chalk, white kaolin is
made from white clay.
Pluess Staufer, which rarely issues public
statements about its business, said it was aware of
"We know the people involved and look forward to
working with them, as a joint venture partner, if and
when the agreement is finalized," OMYA spokesman
Edward C. Haggerty said Thursday.
Georgia Marble is the last remaining major marble
company in the U.S. The 123-year-old Vermont Marble
Company of Proctor went out of business in early 1993
after Pluess Staufer, the parent company, decided to
get out of the dimension stone business and
concentrate on its primary business. It bought
Vermont Marble in 1977 from the Proctor family.
Gay said Georgia Marble would continue to
manufacture dimension stone under its new owners.
However, he did point out that only 15 percent of its
business now comes from stone sales with the remaining
85 percent is generated from the sale of calcium
Stanley Gawet, of Gawet Marble and Granite, said
he was glad to hear that Georgia Marble would survive
"I'm glad they're still there and aren't
dividing it up like they did here," Gawet said,
referring to the break up of Vermont Marble Company.
John Socinski, owner of Rutland Marble and
Granite, said the demise of the major marble producers
in the U.S. has a lot to do with foreign government
subsidies, especially in Italy.
"You're dealing with a subsidized industry,"
Socinski said. "You know, if I could get half of my
business subsidized that would be nice".
Georgia Marble employs 675 people, operates seven
mines and quarries, and 10 factories in Georgia,
Alabama, Arizona, New York and Wyoming.
The company was acquired for $375 million in a
leveraged buyout in 1989 by private investors,
including current management.