James Hardie have announced that they have agreed to sell their US-based gypsum operations for US$345million to UK manufacturer BPB plc. This follows their decision to sell their Las Vegas gypsum mine for US$50 million late last year. The sale price for the gypsum operation is 30% above the book value for assets and represents a good return for shareholders.
Although gypsum business has produced strong returns, the decision was made to divest the business so that they could concentrate on fibre cement business for building and construction applications. They intend to increase their research and development funding to this sector of the organisation to approximately US$21 million, which represents an increase of about 50%.