* Offers $42 per share, higher than Imerys $41 bid
* AMCOL shares rise 9 pct to $44.98
Feb 14 Minerals Technologies Inc offered
to buy AMCOL International Corp for $1.36 billion,
topping a bid from France's Imerys for the company
that owns large reserves of a key mineral used in construction
and energy industries.
Minerals Technologies offered $42 per share for AMCOL, which
produces bentonite from its mines in the United States,
Australia, China and Turkey, while Imerys offered $41 per share
AMCOL's shares rose 9 percent to $44.98, indicating that
some shareholders may be expecting a higher bid.
Demand for bentonite, nicknamed "the mineral of a thousand
uses," is expected to rise with growing construction activities
across the world.
Minerals Technologies produces calcium carbonate, used to
whiten everything from paper to talc.
AMCOL did not immediately respond to calls and emails
"Although not confirmed, we understand that Minerals
Technologies and AMCOL had conversations last year, but stalled
when AMCOL went into exclusive talks with Imerys," Wedbush
Securities Inc analyst Al Kaschalk wrote in a note to clients.
Imerys's bid for AMCOL has been unanimously approved by the
boards of both companies.
"We have an agreed-upon transaction with AMCOL and remain
committed to completing a deal," an Imerys spokesman said.
Analyst Kaschalk, however, said AMCOL may have to accept
Minerals Technologies' offer as per business laws in Delaware.
AMCOL is incorporated in Delaware, where public companies
are typically required to accept the highest offer in a deal.
Minerals Technologies said the deal would add to earnings
upon closing, likely in the first half of 2014.
Both Minerals Technologies and AMCOL recorded sales of more
than $1 billion in 2013.
"Minerals Technologies' and other potential strategic buyers
would need to have a more constructive view on AMCOL's product
development pipeline and the ability to convert such potential
to commercial sales," Kaschalk said.
He raised his price target on AMCOL's stock to $42 from $41
to reflect the latest offer price.
Minerals Technologies shares rose about 1 percent to $53.22
in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.