July 19, 2010 | last updated March 25, 2012 2:13 am

Saint-Gobain Division Changes Hands

File Photo
File Photo
OWNERSHIP STAKE: Approximately 100 employees at Saint-Gobain's Worcester campus are now employees of Colorado-based CoorsTek.

If all goes as planned, on July 31, one building in Saint-Gobain's Greendale Campus in Worcester will quietly shift ownership from the French building materials company to Colorado's CoorsTek Inc.

Saint-Gobain says 103 of the more than 1,000 people it employs on the campus will switch employers as part of the transition, but other than that, little should change.

"We don't anticipate that any jobs will be moving," said company spokesman William Seiberlich. "But of course that will be up to CoorsTek, not us."

CoorsTek, which declined to comment for this story, is acquiring Saint-Gobain's advanced ceramics business for $245 million. The business employs more than 1,100 people and has operations in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

Industry Perspective

Peter Wray, who follows the advanced ceramics industry as director of communications at The American Ceramic Society in Ohio, said that, although CoorsTek is a closely held company that doesn't reveal much about its business strategy, it seems to be following a stated goal of expanding its specialty ceramics line. Wray said Coors is known as a well-run and agile ceramics company.

"It's probably good news in general for that line of business," he said.

CoorsTek is owned by a trust tied to the family famous for its beer. Richard B. Kennedy, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the ownership switch seems to be simply a rational way for both companies to make sure they're concentrating on the business areas that are in their "sweet spots."

"I think when you have a large multi-national company, they continually look at their strategy for businesses," he said.

Kennedy said Saint-Gobain has been a good employer and a good corporate citizen for the local area since it acquired Worcester-based Norton Co. in 1989, and he said he expects CoorsTek to follow suit.

"They're a very reputable firm," he said. "I would expect they would have the same mindset about the community that Saint-Gobain does."

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