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Chemical Industry Council of California

Nirma Acquires US Soda Ash Maker - Searles Valley Minerals

Posted 11/27/07


India Infoline News Service / Mumbai Nov 27, 2007 11:28 The Company [Nirma] has agreed to acquire Searles Valley Minerals Operations Inc. and Searles Valley Minerals Inc. for an undisclosed amount


Nirma Ltd. said on Tuesday that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US-based natural soda ash producers Searles Valley Minerals Operations Inc. and Searles Valley Minerals Inc. (collectively known as SVM). Nirma has agreed to purchase SVM from an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc. and other minority shareholders.


Nirma did not disclose the consideration paid for the US acquisition.  HSBC Securities and Capital Markets India advised Nirma on the transaction.  JP Morgan Securities advised SVM. The definitive agreement for the acquisition of SVM is subject to customary regulatory clearances.


At 11:12 a.m., the stock was at Rs220.95, up Rs15.40 or 7.5% from the previous close. It had touched a high of Rs224.90 and a low of Rs209.


The stock is up 45% in the past one month. SVM is a leading manufacturer of inorganic chemicals and is one of the five natural soda ash manufacturers in the US.


SVM has three manufacturing facilities located at Argus, Trona and West End, California. SVM owns some of its mineral reserves and also produces from long-term leases with the US Bureau of Land Management. Total mineral reserves are in excess of 600 million tons, sufficient for 300 to 400 years production.


SVM has a combined production capacity of over 1.9 million tons. It transports 80% of its production by rail to domestic customers and exports the balance through the ports of San Diego, California and Long Beach, California. SVM also has a 67 MW/hours co-generation power plant, a short line railroad and a joint venture in port operations at the Port of Long Beach.


SVM leases and operates its own port / berthing facility in San Diego and owns a 31 mile short-line railroad that connects directly to the Union Pacific Railroad at Searles Station. As part of its logistic operations, SVM owns six locomotives, leases about 1600 product hopper cars and about 175 coal cars.

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