Johns Manville to merge with investment group

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 24, 2000

A $3 billion merger between an international building products manufacturer and a Dallas-based investment group may send a few ripples through the Miss-Lou economy.

Johns Manville Corp. announced an agreement Friday with Hicks, Muse, Tate &&160;Furst Inc. and Bear Stearns Merchant Banking. According to a JM statement, the transaction should take place before the end of the year.

Based in Denver, Johns Manville employs about 9,700 people at 56 branches in North America, Europe and China. One of those branches is located on Liberty Road in Natchez.

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The industrial supply company makes rolled roofing and fesco boarding, used for insulation.

Carol Dillon, service coordinator at the Natchez plant, said her office was informed of the merger Friday. Because of company policy, she was not able to comment on the buyout.

Johns Manville also operates another branch plant in Richland and seven others in the Southeast.

According to a statement issued by the corporation, JM public shareholders should receive $13.625 for stock held and a 13 percent pay-in-kind preferred stock, with a liquidation preference of $2 for each share.

The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust and members of JM&160;management will keep an equity stake in the newly formed company. Following the closing, the Trust should hold about 8.5 percent of the JM’s common stock.

JM chairman and CEO Jerry Henry said the JM&160;Board of Directors said the merger is in the shareholders’ best interest. Robert A. Falise, chairman and managing trustee of the Trust, said the move is a &uot;major additional step in further diversifying and monetizing the Trust’s assets.&uot;

Formed in 1858, Johns Manville’s 1999 sales reached $2.2 billion, with commercial and industrial sales making up approximately 75 percent of the total.