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Czech Chemicals Firm Draslovka Sees Rapid Growth After Chemours Unit Deal

Draslovka AS, a Czech chemicals company, is building the world’s largest producer of solid sodium cyanide, which is used to extract gold and silver from ore, with plans to increase the company’s size over the next decade.

Draslovka’s Chief Executive Officer Pavel Bruzek said in an interview that the $521 million acquisition of the Mining Solutions segment from Chemours Co. in the United States will provide “very strong growth opportunities.” The expansion will give the Czech mining and agriculture supplier cheaper raw materials and a larger market in the United States.

The combined entity will have approximately $350 million in sales after the purchase, with about 75% of that coming from the newly acquired U.S. assets.

We were looking for the best party on the market to acquire, said Bruzek. We can complement our technology and infrastructure and knowledge, and the portfolio of new products, with their knowledge of the market and their amazing access to very cheap raw materials.

Mining Solutions is a major producer of solid sodium cyanide in North America. The Czech company used a $348 million syndicated loan negotiated by JPMorgan to finance the deal.

We were oversubscribed, and now we are building our reputation in the institutional financial markets, so we’re really excited, said Bruzek.

Draslovka had production and service facilities in the Czech Republic, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and India prior to the acquisition. The company agreed to buy Sasol Ltd.’s sodium-cyanide division for 1.46 billion rand ($91 million) in July, and Bruzek says he is “very confident” that the transaction will be completed despite regulatory challenges.

Bruzek said Draslovka now has over 500 people and is “actively looking” at additional, smaller acquisition possibilities, but he couldn’t say more at this point in the process.

Draslovka, which was founded in 1906 and is currently jointly controlled by four Czech families, joins the list of Czech industrial enterprises that have recently expanded to the United States. Ceska Zbrojovka Group SE, a Czech guns manufacturer, purchased the renowned Colt Holding Company LLC earlier this year to meet rapidly growing demand in the key North American market.

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