Merger could send limestone to international markets

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — The recent merger of two natural stone producers is expected to expand the market for limestone produced by four southern Indiana quarries far beyond the Midwest.

Canada-based Polycor Inc., which merged with the 92-year-old Indiana Limestone Co. in October, has strong footholds on the East Coast and the Southeast, as well as in India, China, South Korea and Europe.

Only around 30% of the limestone produced by Indiana Limestone's four quarries in the state is currently sold outside the Midwest. But Polycor plans to use its international network of sales representatives to boost the Bloomington-based limestone producer's reach, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

"Indiana Limestone has a great product, and Polycor has a great (customer) pipeline. The new markets where they are gaining exposure will help them immensely," said Todd Schnatzmeyer, executive director of the Indiana Limestone Institute of America.

Polycor was founded in 1987 and has expanded over the past decade. Terms of its merger with Indiana Limestone have not been disclosed.

The company's CEO, Patrick Perus, said it has big plans for a more expansive rollout of Indiana's high-quality limestone. He projects that Polycor's international network of sales representatives will help boost Indiana Limestone's sales by more than 10% this year.

Perus, whose company's offerings also include granite, marble and soapstone, said that Indiana-quarried limestone has unique qualities that make it ideal for carving designs and a resistance to weather extremes.

"There is nothing else like it," he said. "The uniformity of color of Indiana limestone is unparalleled. It is quarried in much larger pieces, making it easier to work with (than) other limestone; it can withstand all kinds of weather — including freeze and thaw cycles; and it's very easy to carve for design purposes."

Limestone quarried in Indiana has been used for such landmarks as the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.

Tom Quigley was appointed president emeritus of Indiana Limestone in early 2014 after the company fell into bankruptcy and its quarries were operating at just 20% of their normal rate. Under his leadership, the company reported an annual revenue boost of more than 10% for three successive years ending in 2016.

In 2017 and 2018, it reported yearly revenue increases of 3%.

He said Polycor's big sales staff will give a significant boost to the marketing of Indiana-quarried limestone.

"Just consider for a moment, Indiana Limestone has eight salespeople. Polycor has 110," he said.

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