Rutland Herald (VT)
September 14, 2013

Omya trying to buy 4 more plants

   Bruce Edwards

Looking to expand its calcium carbonate business in Europe and North America, Omya has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire four calcium carbonate plants from Imerys, a French industrial minerals company. Headquartered in Switzerland, Omya already operates plants around the world, including Pittsford, home to the company’s largest calcium carbonate plant in North America.

The plants Imerys is looking to sell are in Wisconsin, Sweden, France and Italy. The plants make ground calcium carbonate used in the manufacture of paper products.

Company spokesman Wolfgang Weber-Thedy said Omya’s desire to acquire the plants is part of a long-term strategy.

“Its aim is to strengthen its calcium carbonate business with the paper and (paper) board industry,” Weber-Thedy said Friday in a telephone interview from Zurich. “This emphasizes its continued commitment to the sector despite the challenging business environment in Europe and North America.”

One factor helping to drive the acquisition is the location of the four plants relative to Omya’s customers. Weber-Thedy said the acquisition would allow Omya to reduce its transportation costs.

He also said that if negotiations are successful the acquisition of the Wisconsin plant would not affect production in Vermont.

“This is a move to optimize, not downsize,” he said.

Because Imerys is a publicly traded company on the Paris stock exchange, it was required to disclose the negotiations. The company said that if negotiations are successful, the sale to Omya could be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

According to Imerys, last year the four production facilities generated revenues of nearly $100 million.

Imerys has 250 industrial sites in 48 countries, including the U.S. In Vermont, it operates a talc mine on East Hill Road in Ludlow.

Omya, based in Oftringen, Switzerland, is a privately held company with 100 sites in more than 50 countries and 7,000 employees.