GER / VN - Masan Group and H.C. Starck to Establish Tungsten Chemical Joint Venture

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H.C. Starck, a leading worldwide manufacturer of technology metals and one of the biggest companies in the global tungsten industry, and Nui Phao Mining Company (“Nui Phao”), a subsidiary of one of Vietnam’s largest private sector business groups, Masan Group Corporation (HOSE: MSN, “Masan Group”), have announced the signing of definitive agreements to establish a joint venture for the production of value-added tungsten chemicals in Vietnam.

Nui Phao and H.C. Starck will own 51% and 49% respectively of the joint venture, which will process all of Nui Phao’s tungsten concentrate into higher value-add tungsten chemicals, including ammonium paratungstate (APT) and blue tungsten oxide (BTO). The joint venture company will have an installed capacity of 6,500 tons tungsten trioxide per annum. H.C. Starck will manage the joint venture and has committed to buy a significant share of the production for its own internal use. The company will also support marketing of the remaining product through the joint venture.

Andreas Meier, President and CEO of H.C. Starck said, “Masan has developed a world-class mining operation and the Nui Phao mine will be a stable source of material for the joint venture. For H.C. Starck this joint venture strengthens our leading position as a global tungsten producer and increases our manufacturing footprint in Asia. Based on the secured supply of tungsten concentrate and our recycling capabilities, we can provide our customers long-term supply security independent from regulatory restrictions and we expect less price volatility for tungsten.”

H.C. Starck has significant experience in the tungsten processing business, which is a niche and technologically intensive industry, and will therefore be responsible for the industrial management of the joint venture.

Dominic Heaton, CEO of Masan Resources, a subsidiary of Masan Group and the parent company of Nui Phao, commented, “H.C Starck has world-class expertise in the processing of tungsten chemicals and oxides. With H.C. Starck’s specialized know-how and technology, Masan Group is able to contribute to Vietnam’s objective of becoming more of a manufacturer of value-added products.”

Madhur Maini, CEO of Masan Group, said: “H.C Starck is the technology leader in the production of several high-technology metals. The partnership with H.C. Starck, one of the world’s largest tungsten players, will help Masan capture more of the tungsten value chain and is a testament to the quality of Nui Phao’s tungsten deposit and processing plant.”

H.C. Starck is a leading global manufacturer for technology metals. Besides being one of the largest global tungsten companies in the world, it also holds top market positions with its tantalum, molybdenum, niobium, and rhenium products. All of these metals require advanced technology and know-how to process.

Nui Phao, the tungsten concentrate supplier of the joint venture, has developed one of the largest known tungsten deposits outside of China with an expected mine life of more than 15 years. The construction of the tungsten chemical plant that will be part of the joint venture is in progress. The first stage of the tungsten chemical plant will start production next month, with further stages expected to be completed in 2014.

Tungsten is one of the hardest metals and has the highest melting point. As a strategic resource, it is used in a variety of applications requiring high strength. APT and BTO are intermediary chemicals used for the production of high speed cutting and drilling tools which are in high demand from growing industries such as mining and mechanical engineering, medical technology, and the automotive and energy industries. APT is also used for catalyst production in the chemical industry. The European Union identified tungsten as one of the critical raw materials that have high strategic value and yet for which there are only limited natural resources.

The establishment of the joint venture and closing of the definitive agreements are subject to customary corporate and regulatory approvals.

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