Elementis to Funnel Record Profit Into Plant Expansion in U.S.

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Elementis Plc, the world’s largest maker of hectorite-clay additives used in cosmetics, plans to increase investment and pump $15 million into U.S. expansion over the next two years, Finance Director Brian Taylorson said.

Capital expenditure will rise to $20 million to $25 million in 2012, from $14 million last year, Taylorson said. Elementis, which reported record profit today, is budgeting for a similar level of investment in 2013, he said.

The maker of paint and chromium, based in London, is in the early stages of a new expansion program in the U.S. to capture market share for additives used in water-based paints, Taylorson said in a phone interview today. Elementis is focusing on higher-margin chemicals used in lubricants and coatings in industries spanning oil-drilling and aerospace, while running its chromium business for cash.

“Our priority is to see if we can reinvest excess cash,” Taylorson said.

Elementis shares declined 1.3 percent to 163.7 pence in London as of 8:52 a.m.

Pretax profit before one-time items gained 40 percent to $134.5 million, the company reported today. Revenue climbed 9 percent to $760.5 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Noel in London at anoel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net