Minerals Technologies Inc. (NYSE: MTX) has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Specialty Minerals Inc., has entered into an agreement with ABC Paper Limited to build and operate a satellite precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) plant at ABC Paper's integrated pulp and paper mill at Saila Khurd located in the northern India state of Punjab. ABC Paper Limited is a Mumbai stock exchange-listed company controlled by the widely known and respected Khaitan family. The company has more than 30 years of papermaking history in India.
The satellite PCC plant, which will produce about 25,000 metric tons of PCC a year and is expected to become operational in the third quarter of 2012, will be wholly owned and operated by Specialty Minerals' Indian subsidiary, Minerals Technologies India Private Ltd.
"We are very pleased to enter this partnership with ABC Paper Ltd., which is recognized for its leadership in producing environmentally friendly printing and writing papers," said Joe Muscari, chairman and chief executive officer. "Minerals Technologies has seen its growth in India accelerate as consolidation and expansion takes place and the valuations of Indian paper producers have increased. This agreement marks our fifth satellite PCC plant in India, making us the PCC leader in that country, and we believe that our new PCC-enabling technologies like our Fulfill(TM) products will help create more value for our new customers there."
ABC Paper is a leading producer of agro fiber-based printing and writing papers. The company's pulp and paper mill began operations in 1980 after developing its mill complex in a rural agricultural area. ABC paper's ongoing use of waste agricultural grasses as the primary fiber source for its high-quality papers, and production of a biopolymer lignin base from another onsite satellite venture, places it in near the top of a category of environmentally conscious paper producers.
ABC Paper Ltd. enjoys a strong customer base across India for of its range of writing and printing papers. The paper company has its own distribution network contributing to more than 90 percent of its sales, and these 80-plus distributors across India give it one of the stronger distribution networks. This customer service is coupled with known brands and differentiation based on quality. Brands include ABC Gold, ABC Sapphire, Pearl White and Blue Diamond. The recent introduction of PCC into the market is also strongly driving ABC to improve its paper quality.
In 2010, ABC completed a multi-year expansion project that more than doubled its papermaking output, with the high point being the startup of the new paper machine 4.
PCC is a specialty pigment for filling and coating high-quality paper. By making use of PCC as a replacement for more expensive pulp, customers like ABC Paper are able to produce brighter, higher quality paper at lower cost. Minerals Technologies originated the satellite concept for making and delivering PCC on-site at paper mills and the concept was a major factor in revolutionizing North American papermaking from an acid to an alkaline-based technology. Minerals Technologies constructed its first PCC satellite plant in 1986. Today, the company has 57 satellite plants in operation or under construction around the world and continues to lead the industry with consistent quality and technical innovation.