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Esmalglass-Itaca Group acquires Ferro to create tile coating giant

January 2020

Ferro Corporation, a leading global supplier of technology-based functional coatings and colour solutions, has agreed to sell its Tile Coatings Business to Pigments Spain, S.L., a company of the Esmalglass-Itaca-Fritta group, for $460 million in cash, with the potential for an additional performance-based $32 million in cash.

With annual sales of approximately $510 million, Ferro’s Tile Coatings Business produces coatings for ceramic tiles. It was part of the Ferro’s Performance Coatings reporting segment which, along with Ferro’s Porcelain Enamel Business, will be retained.

"This transaction will substantially advance the Dynamic Innovation and Optimization phase of our strategy and strengthen our balance sheet,” said Peter Thomas, Chairman, President and CEO of Ferro Corporation. “It will result in a Ferro more fully focused on higher-growth industries where our market-leading technology, innovation, and customer-centric service generate higher gross margins.“

Given the value of the transaction and the size of the two players, this is one of the most important acquisitions in the history of the ceramic colour and glaze industry. Esmalglass-Itaca, which also acquired Fritta in 2015, is set to become the world leader in the ceramic colour and glaze sector with a turnover of around a billion euros. The Villarreal-based group has 1,650 employees and around twenty production units in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, China, and Thailand and in 2018 posted revenue of Euro 470 million. Ferro’s Tile Coatings Business has a similar turnover with annual sales of $510 million for the year to 30th September 2019.

For Esmalglass-Itaca, the incorporation of Ferro will pave the way to the development of major synergies in research, innovation and services, potentially resulting in a reduction of costs to be passed on to the market. As the Spanish group’s co-CEO Vicente Bagán explained, the goal is to achieve greater competitiveness and create value for customers in a sector that is set to undergo major consolidation and evolution over the next few years with an increasing focus on maximum efficiency. According to initial statements, Lone Star (the owner of Esmalglass-Itica) intends to keep the two businesses independent and clearly differentiated to enable both of them to play to their strengths.

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