BPB announced it has signed an agreement to acquire James Hardie Industries for $345 million ...

BPB PLC announced it has signed an agreement to acquire the U.S.-based gypsum business of James Hardie Industries for $345 million.

The acquisition includes three gypsum wallboard plants in Seattle, Las Vegas and Nashville, Ark.; two adjacent gypsum mines providing secure sources of gypsum; a joint treatment plant; and a gypsum grinding and packaging facility. The company employs less than 600 people.

The sale is subject to U.S. regulatory clearance and other technical conditions. The completion of the transaction is expected by May 2002.

The North American wallboard market represents more than 50 percent of world demand. This acquisition represents a share of almost 7.5 percent of the U.S. market, with annual sales of around 2.2 billion square feet of gypsum wallboard. The purchase will allow BPB to expand its U.S. market presence as the third largest producer in North America. BPB's North American operations are headquartered in Toronto, with U.S. headquarters in Tampa, Fla.