QUEBEC CITY, Quebec – In what it called a friendly acquisition, Polycor announced the purchase today of two famed U.S. stone companies: Rock of Ages and Swenson Granite.

280 tricompany“Our decision to merge together is based on the fact that we are complementary companies, thus benefitting from a greater breadth of expertise within our respective markets,” said Polycor CEO Patrick Perus and Robert Pope, COO of Swenson Granite and Rock of Ages, in a joint statement. “Together, we will become a major leader in the natural-stone industry.”

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“We want to own the future. We want to build it together,” Perus said. “We are building a very strong company and this company can take the lead for the rest of the industry to help the world to fall in love again with natural stone.”

All of the companies will continue to operate under their own names, with international block sales shifted to the Polycor brand. Overall corporate headquarters will be under the Polycor name in Quebec City.

“People don’t see the stone industry as creative and innovative,” he said. “What we like to do at Polycor is surprise people. Be innovative, be creative, be the opposite of what people think about the stone industry.”

A Canadian Press report on the acquisition noted that no layoffs or plant closures are planned, and that the combined companies will have more than US$150 million in annual revenues with Polycor contributing 40%.

The deal is being financed by key members of the three companies, along with Canadian private equity firm TorQuest Partners and PNC Mezzanine Capital in Pittsburgh.

"Polycor, Swenson Granite and Rock of Ages are each leaders in their respective markets," said Alan Lever, a partner at Toronto-based TorQuest. "We are excited to bring these businesses together under one umbrella, creating the largest dimensional-stone company in North America."

Despite its increased size, Polycor will control just 10% to 15% of the fragmented North American stone market, ensuring that prices don't increase, Perus told the Canadian Press.

Swenson Granite and Rock of Ages began as separate companies in the 1880s, with Swenson Granite acquiring Rock of Ages in 1984. Swenson Granite became a privately owned part of Rock of Ages during a company reorganization and public-stock offering in the late 1990; Swenson then bought 100% ownership of Rock of Ages in 2010 and took both companies private.

For Kurt Swenson, a fourth-generation leader of his namesake company and chairman of the board since 1974, the move under the Polycor umbrella is one that will continue his family’s legacy.

"We made the decision as a family that the right step would be to get new owners of the company,” Swenson said. “It’s been fun. It’s been an adventure. It’s a great product. It outlives us.

“I wish I was 25 years younger so that I could be part of the collaboration that’s going to take place between the companies. The good news is that Patrick Perus knows the business. He’s experienced in the business.”

Swenson announced the deal Friday to staff, including Rock of Ages employees at their annual company picnic in Vermont. In a goodwill gesture, approximately 400 workers at the two companies will receive $500 for each year of service, according to reporting in the Concord (N.H.) Monitor.

The Monitor article also noted that no layoffs or cutbacks are planned at the acquired companies.

“We are quarriers, one and all. It is at the heart of what we do,” Perus said. “Our mission is to supply the world market with the most prestigious stone from North America, and by combining forces, we are in a much better position to do just that.”

Editor's note: Article modified on Sept. 19 with comment from TorQuest and reporting from Concord (N.H.) Monitor.


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