10 December 2007

Johnson Matthey announced that it has signed an agreement to buy Argillon Group for €214 million in cash from Ceramics Luxembourg, a company owned by KKR funds.

Argillon Group specializes in catalysts and advanced ceramic materials. The company—once a part of Siemens—is the supplier of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalysts for NOx emission control that have been marketed under the brand name SINOx. Argillon SCR catalysts have been used in a number of stationary applications, including coal, oil and gas fired turbines in power stations, marine applications, and stationary diesel engines. In recent years, as the SCR technology is being introduced to mobile applications, Argillon catalysts are increasingly used in heavy- and medium-duty diesel vehicles.

The original Argillon/Siemens technology was based on homogeneous V2O5/TiO2 extruded honeycombs. More recently, Argillon also developed zeolite-based SCR catalysts.

Argillon also manufactures and markets a variety of engineered ceramics such as insulators used in power transmission and distribution applications, piezo ceramics used as actuators for the textile machinery and automotive industries as well as alumina components for semi conductors and circuit breakers.

In the year to 30th September 2007, Argillon reported sales of €160 million, adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of €19 million and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of €26 million. Net operating assets at 30th September 2007 were €60 million. Argillon employs around 1,500 people and has manufacturing sites in Germany, Poland and Romania.

The transaction is conditional upon regulatory clearance in Germany.

Source: Johnson Matthey