U.S. Minerals Buys ATI Black Diamond Granules

U.S. Minerals has acquired ATI Black Diamond Granules, a Woodbury, Minn.-based company. Both companies recycle and process coal slag into roofing shingle granules and sandblasting abrasives. Terms of the deal were not released. U.S. Minerals is a portfolio company of Chicago-based private equity firm Merit Capital Partners.

PRESS RELEASE

ATI Black Diamond Granules, Inc. (“Black Diamond”) announced today that it has been acquired by U.S. Minerals, Inc. (“U.S. Minerals”), a portfolio company of Chicago based private equity firm Merit Capital Partners. The transaction closed on December 14, 2012. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Black Diamond, headquartered in Woodbury, Minnesota, and U.S. Minerals, headquartered in Dyer, Indiana, both recycle and process coal slag into roofing shingle granules and sandblasting abrasives. Black Diamond’s President, Bruce Haslerud, believes the strong financial backing and strategic expertise of U.S. Minerals’ management team will prove to be a great asset to both Black Diamond’s employees and its customers. “We are very excited to combine forces with U.S. Minerals. We look forward to working together to continue to develop quality products, gain market share, and continue to provide our customers with superior service.”

D.A. Davidson & Co. served as the sole financial advisor on the transaction. “I am very pleased with the outcome of the process and the invaluable services the D.A. Davidson team provided,” said Mr. Haslerud, President of Black Diamond. “D.A. Davidson’s technical expertise, negotiating savvy, professionalism, and responsiveness were extremely helpful in closing this very complex transaction. I highly recommend the D.A. Davidson team to anyone needing M&A advisory services in the future.”

About ATI Black Diamond Granules, Inc.

Founded in 1979, Black Diamond is a leading manufacturer of roofing shingle granules and sandblasting abrasives. The primary ingredient of the Company’s products is coal slag, which is a nonhazardous recycled byproduct of coal burning power plants that hardens and crystalizes when cooled. The Company’s primary customer base includes shingle manufacturers, fabrication and painting companies, and commercial construction contractors. Black Diamond’s geographic reach includes markets in Minnesota, Southern Canada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Illinois, and Missouri. Further information on Black Diamond can be found at www.ati-blackdiamond.com.

About U.S. Minerals, Inc.
U.S. Minerals, headquartered in Dyer, Indiana, is a leading recycler and processor of coal slag. The Company’s facilities, located in Baldwin, Illinois, Coffeen, Illinois, Harvey, Louisiana and Galveston, Texas, process coal slag from the bottom of power-plant boilers into two beneficial re-use products: roofing granules and surface-blasting abrasives. Roofing customers utilize coal slag to produce asphalt shingles. Abrasives customers, including industrial, petrochemical, oil, shipping, and railroad companies, use coal slag to remove particles, like rust and paint, from metal and wood surfaces. Further information on U.S. Minerals can be found at www.us-minerals.com.

About Merit Capital Partners
Based in Chicago, Merit Capital Partners manages $1.7 billion of capital through five institutionally-sponsored limited partnerships investing mezzanine and equity capital in middle-market companies principally in manufacturing, distribution and services industries. Merit focuses exclusively on high-quality, established businesses with carefully conceived operating strategies with a goal of working with committed owners and strong managers to help increase a company’s enterprise value.

Merit Capital Partners typically invests with management teams and independent sponsors in recapitalizations, acquisitions, management buyouts, and internal expansions. Merit typically invests between $20 million and $60 million in companies with minimum EBITDA of at least $5 million. Merit Capital Partners was founded in 1993. www.meritcapital.com.

D.A. Davidson & Co.

D.A. Davidson is an employee-owned financial services firm, founded 77 years ago, that serves clients nationwide. D.A. Davidson is part of a larger corporate entity, Davidson Companies, with $32 billion in client assets under management and more than 1,100 employees working from offices in 19 states. D.A. Davidson’s Investment Banking Group provides full-service underwriting and advisory services for mid-size and growing companies, including public offerings, mergers and acquisitions and private placements. Further information on D.A. Davidson can be found at www.davidsoncompanies.com/ecm.

Forward-Looking Information

Any statements in this news release relating to future events, including any expected business and financial performance are “forward-looking statements”. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various factors and uncertainties and are necessarily based upon estimates and assumptions. Actual events are difficult to predict, and factors and uncertainties such as financial performance, integration, personnel, market, economic, legal, and other similar matters may cause actual results to differ significantly from expectations.

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