Imerys makes two major acquisitions for significant expansion

Imerys has signed a final agreement with the Australian group Astron for the acquisition of all its operating Chinese subsidiaries (Astron China) for an enterprise value (debt and cash free) of €121 million. Based in Shenyang, Astron China has four plants (the major one being located in Bayuqan, Liaoning Province) and eight distribution centres in China. With 580 employees and a strong management team, it is a major player in the production, marketing, trading and sale world-wide of a large range of zircon-related products, primarily zircon sand and flour, fused zirconia and zirconium chemicals. It generated for its last financial year ending June 30, 2007 total revenues of €114 million(provisional subject to final completion of audit), of which approximately 65% was sold into China, and an operating income of €12 million (provisional subject to final completion of audit).

This acquisition will allow Imerys to enlarge its Fused Minerals activities, while: expanding its product range in its key refractory, ceramics and investment casting markets; substantially deepening its production presence, distribution infrastructure, and sales penetration in China; having a global production base for fused zirconia, also including UCM facility in the US.

Furthermore, the Group has signed a final agreement in view of its forthcoming acquisition of The Feldspar Corp, a subsidiary of the North American group Zemex Corp comprising its feldspar and kaolin activities. In 2006, The Feldspar Corp achieved sales of over €22 million, mainly in ceramics applications. It has high-quality mineral reserves, two feldspar production units in North Carolina and Georgia and a kaolin facility in Florida. This operation, which consolidates the Group’s positions in the North American minerals for ceramics market, provides a substantial potential for industrial synergy.

A world leader in industrial minerals, Imerys is active in 45 countries through over 250 locations. The Group achieved €3.3 billion in sales in 2006. Imerys mines and processes minerals from reserves worldwide and its products have many applications in everyday life, including construction, personal care, paper, paint, plastic, ceramics, telecommunications and beverage filtration.