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Compass Minerals in talks to sell plant

November 14, 2005
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Compass Minerals International Inc., one of the largest salt producers in North America, said its British unit is in talks to sell a plant in Cheshire, England, to chemicals maker Ineos Enterprises, the Associated Press reports. Compass President and Chief Executive Michael E. Ducey, said the sale would resolve overcapacity issues that have hampered the company''s general trade salt business in Britain and continental Europe. For Ineos, which both supplies brine to the plant and is its largest customer, the deal offers new synergies unavailable to Compass. If a deal is reached, it would include the evaporated salt plant of Compass'' Salt Union Ltd. unit. The plant has an annual capacity of 850,000 tons and serves consumer, agricultural and chemical customers in Britain and continental Europe. The plant''s nearly 100 employees would transfer to Ineos, the company said. Compass said the negotiations don''t include Salt Union''s Winsford Mine in Cheshire, which produces rock salt for highway de-icing, or the Minosus joint venture, which includes a document storage business and a waste disposal business.

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