Fairmont Santrol, Unimin Strike Merger Deal


Fairmount Santrol and Unimin Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of SCR-Sibelco NV, announced that the boards of directors of both companies have approved a definitive agreement under which Fairmount and Unimin will combine in a tax-free, cash and stock transaction.

The new company, which will list on the New York Stock Exchange, “will combine the two organizations’ strong product portfolios and asset footprints to create an industry-leading proppant and industrial materials solutions provider, serving both energy and industrial customers,” the companies said.

The combined company is expected to have 45 million tons of annual sand and mineral processing capacity and 3.0 million tons of annual coating capacity. In addition, the combined company will operate a comprehensive logistics platform with a large-scale terminal network across North America, comprising 96 distribution terminals with 18 unit-train capable terminals, and access to all major railways serving major oil and gas basins.

On a pro forma basis, the new company would have had revenue of approximately $2.0 billion and Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $400 million, excluding expected synergies, for the 12-month period ended Sept. 30, 2017. The industrial segment represents 45 percent of gross profit and the proppants segment represents 55 percent.

The transaction is expected to generate significant shareholder value, including a $170 million cash payment to Fairmount shareholders. In addition, it is expected to strengthen the companies’ leadership positions in serving both the industrial and energy markets through a broader, more diverse product offering and logistics footprint. The combined company is targeting $150 million of identified annual operational synergies, resulting in over $1 billion in value creation.

“This is a compelling transaction for our shareholders and for our many other stakeholders, including our customers, employees and communities,” said Jenniffer Deckard, president and chief executive officer of Fairmount Santrol. “By combining the complementary strengths of both Unimin and Fairmount Santrol, we will create a premier provider of industrial materials and proppant solutions with benefits and growth opportunities that far surpass what either company could achieve alone. Together we will serve our customers more efficiently and effectively with a broader and more diverse product offering, greater technical expertise, improved scale and geographic diversity and an expanded logistics platform. We have long respected the Unimin organization and believe our shared cultures of sustainability and long-term value creation will enable us to realize the benefits of this merger.”

Campbell Jones, president and chief executive officer of Unimin, said, “We are excited to join forces with Fairmount as we believe this combination is an ideal fit for our value-driven orientation and long-term vision of strength through diversity of products and end markets. Fairmount is an excellent partner for Unimin and shares our strategy of providing superior and innovative product solutions for the growing energy and industrial segments. Together, our combined network of flagship plants, terminals and rail access will deliver greater capacity and more cost-competitive supply to meet our customers’ needs.”

Matthew LeBaron, chairman of the Fairmount Santrol board of directors, said, “We are pleased with this combination, which brings together two industry leaders at an opportune time in the industry. This transaction will deliver significant value for Fairmount shareholders through immediate cash consideration and the opportunity to participate in the upside of the combined company. The combined company will have a strong capital structure, backed by diverse cash flow streams, which will position it to make strategic growth investments and further enhance returns for shareholders. On behalf of my fellow directors, we look forward to what Fairmount and Unimin will accomplish together.”

“This combination is a unique opportunity to create an industry-leading company with the ability to generate significant long-term value for shareholders,” said Jean-Luc Deleersnyder, chief executive officer of Sibelco. “We are confident that the combined company will be in a strong position to leverage its strengths to generate significant cash flow that can be used to capture targeted growth opportunities and to reduce debt. Our position as a long-term investor reflects our belief in the value that will be created by the merger and enables the consolidated entity to leverage our global capabilities.”

Strategic and financial position of the combined company include:

  • Leading materials solutions provider to both the energy and industrial segments: The combined company will be a leading industrial materials and proppant solutions provider with improved scale, approximately 45 million tons of annual sand and mineral production capacity, and more than 1.3 billion tons of combined reserves. The combined entity will be the largest provider of proppant solutions to the energy industry and of industrial materials solutions, will possess the most extensive technical and applications expertise, and will have the largest portfolio of high-purity sands and nepheline syenite production in North America.
  • Diversification across assets, geographies and end markets: The combined company’s complementary asset footprint is well positioned to serve resilient and attractive markets including oil and gas, glass, construction, ceramics, coatings, polymers and foundry markets. Through both strategically located plants and an enhanced distribution network with access to all major rail lines, the combined company will have an exceptional position to deliver products and services to a broad customer base across energy and industrial markets.
  • Significant value creation through operational synergies and greater access to diverse and growing industrial business: The combined company expects to further enhance earnings and value through substantial operational synergies, targeting $150 million in annual synergies, and capturing 50 percent of the synergies in the first year following close. The new company’s significant and more predictable cash flow generation is a benefit of more diverse revenue streams from the industrial segment strengthened by combinational synergies, increased scale, and complementarity of assets. These synergies and improved cash flows will provide the combined company with increased financial flexibility, including the ability to reduce leverage and make strategic investments.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, at the closing of the transaction, Fairmount shareholders, including equity award holders, will receive $170 million in cash, or approximately $0.74 per share based on Fairmount’s current diluted share count, and will own 35 percent of the combined company, with Sibelco owning the remaining 65 percent. The transaction is structured to be tax-free to Fairmount shareholders. Sibelco will maintain ownership of Unimin’s high-purity quartz business, which mainly serves electronics manufacturers in Asia.

In connection with the transaction, Unimin has secured fully committed financing from Barclays Bank PLC and BNP Paribas to refinance both companies’ outstanding debt obligations and certain transaction expenses. The companies believe that the strong and diversified cash flow resulting from the combination will allow the combined company to pay down debt expeditiously.

Upon closing, the combined company’s board of directors is expected to comprise 11 members, six of whom will be recommended by Sibelco, including Deleersnyder, and four of whom will be recommended by Fairmount.

Deckard is expected to serve as CEO and as a director of the combined company. Sibelco has the right to nominate the independent chairman of the combined company.

The executive leadership team will include a combination of existing leaders from both Unimin and Fairmount, with the combined company leaning on the significant strengths of the quality workforce across both companies.

The location of the combined entity’s headquarters will be determined prior to closing, and the combined company will maintain regional offices in order to leverage both companies’ significant operating presence, strong partnerships and talented employee bases. Unimin and Fairmount have highly recognizable and well-respected names, and the name of the combined company will be determined before the closing of the transaction, which is expected in mid-2018, subject to the approval of Fairmount shareholders, the receipt of regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.