Minerals Giants to Merge in $1.6B Deal

(Wyoming Business Report, February 24) – A pair of international corporations with industrial mineral plants in Wyoming has entered into a $1.6 billion merger agreement.

Paris, France-based Imerys S.A. earlier this month agreed to purchase Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Amcol International for $41 per share, or about $1.33 billion in cash. But with debt included with the deal, it is valued at $1.6 billion overall.

According to its website, Imerys operates Imerys Perlite USA Inc. in Green River, which manufactures perlite, a volcanic glass used in construction materials and fertilizers, among other uses. Amcol, also known as American Colloid Co., is a global leader in bentonite manufacturing. The company even refers to its founder, Paul Bechtner, as “Mr. Bentonite.”

Amcol’s website shows two Wyoming locations – one in Lovell and another in Colony, which is adjacent to the South Dakota border in northeast Wyoming. In Colony, the company operates two plants. The company has had a Wyoming presence since it opened its first bentonite processing plant in Upton in 1928.

Amcol, though slated to be scooped up by a subsidiary of the French company Imerys when the deal closes before the year is half over, will continue to do business under its own name, according to the Associated Press. The deal, unsolicited by Amcol, has been billed a “friendly takeover.” According to a Feb. 17 release from Imerys, Amcol also received a proposal that could lead to a competing offer.

But Imerys said it was committed to the deal, calling it a “strategic combination” of complementary companies that could lead to “important development opportunities” for both.

“The acquisition of Amcol is expected to enhance Imerys’ global offer of mineral-based specialty solutions in diversified attractive markets,” a Feb. 12 release stated, adding that it would create commercial and operational synergies. Amcol has about 3,000 employees, while Imerys listed 15,800 employees worldwide in 2013 at more than 250 sites.

Full story here.