ECONOMY

S&B buys niche market leader

The acquisition of Stollberg Group, a manufacturer of specialized chemicals for steel casting, will enable S&B Industrial Minerals (formerly Silver&Baryte) to expand globally into one more «market-to-mine» chain, S&B Managers said yesterday. The acquisition, S&B’s largest so far, was concluded last Wednesday in Dusseldorf, Germany. S&B acquired a 100 percent stake in Stollberg Group, a subsidiary of chemicals firm Degussa AG. S&B paid 43.8 million euros for Stollberg. The entire transaction value, including debts assumed, amounts to 58.5 million euros. S&B Managing Director Efthymios Vidalis told reporters yesterday that the acquisition was a natural progression from S&B’s being a primary supplier of raw materials for Stollberg to owning it. Stollberg, which employs 350 highly skilled personnel, is a world leader in a niche market. Its main product is casting fluxes, chemicals that facilitate a steel production process called continuous casting and which results in higher-quality steel. Stollberg’s share of the casting fluxes market is over 30 percent and it supplies 90 percent of the world’s big steel producers. Stollberg’s product is a mix of more than 20 industrial minerals, the main of them being wollastonite, a mineral S&B produces. It is the main partner in China’s biggest wollastonite mine. Stollberg’s products are manufactured in Germany, the United States, Brazil, India, South Korea and China, in the latter two countries through joint ventures. Last year, it had earnings before interest and taxes of 6.1 million euros on turnover of 60 million euros.