General Refractories: Perelman Wants It All

Posted: June 16, 1988

The buyout-happy Perelman family is at it again, this time pursuing a company it already runs.

One Perelman enterprise - Belmont Industries - yesterday offered $34.7 million to buy the stock it does not already control in General Refractories, a Bala Cynwyd company.

Belmont Industries and General Refractories share the same chairman - Raymond Perelman, the 70-year-old Philadelphia industrialist.

Perelman became chairman of General Refractories three years ago, after he won control of the company in a proxy fight.

General Refractories employs more than 4,200 people, although only about 100 work at the company's headquarters. The firm makes furnace lining materials that are sold mainly to the steel industry.

Perelman personally owns about 7 percent of General Refractories' common stock. Coupled with the General Refractories stock held by Belmont and Chayes Virginia - two companies that Perelman owns - he controls 47.59 percent of General Refractories.

Considering that he holds the chairman's job, and controls nearly half the stock, why does he want a buyout?

"In looking around for acquisitions, we felt that the best deal around was our own company," Perelman said. "The stock wasn't going anywhere. Maybe our big block of stock was hanging over the market. Who knows."

He thinks the $20.50-a-share, $34.7 million offer is a good deal for General Refractories shareholders.

"The shareholders will receive an excellent price. This is as high as the stock has ever sold, to my knowledge," he said.

The stock jumped more than $4 a share, to $20.75, yesterday after the offer was made public. It was the biggest gainer on the New York Stock Exchange.

The offer was made through Belmont Industries, which owns the largest chunk of General Refractories. It expires June 24.

"The board is going to work as quickly as possible to get some kind of answer by that date," said Dorothy Costello, spokeswoman for the company, adding that the directors had formed a special committee to evaluate the offer.

Perelman and his son, Jeffrey, have seats on the General Refractories board.

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