Eagle Picher officials announced last week that they have agreed to sell the Quapaw-based boron plant to Ceradyne Inc. for approximately $69 million in cash.

EP Boron produces enriched boron isotopes and products containing other stable isotopes for the nuclear, semiconductor and hazardous materials industries. Sales were at approximately $23 million in the fiscal year ending Nov. 30, 2006.

According to David Reed, Ceradyne's president of North American operations, the management team at EP Boron is expected to remain in place, as well as at least 100 employees.

“I am very excited about the pending acquisition of EP Boron, Reed said. “It fits perfectly in Ceradyne's longer range strategy.

Ceradyne manufactures ceramic products for defense, automotive and industrial customers. The company's chief financial officer, Jerrold Pellizzon, said Friday that the company intends to use the Quapaw plant to grow its nuclear containment and semiconductor businesses.

The Quapaw location is one of two plant's in the world that produces boron isotopes. The other plant is in Russia.

“EP Boron has been the leader in supplying boron isotope products to the nuclear and semiconductor industry, said David Treadwell, president and CEO of the Quapaw company. “This is a great fit with Ceradyne and we're pleased this will provide a solid growth opportunity for the people and customers of boron.

The sale is expected to close within the next 30 days. The conglomerate is now determining how to align some of its companies' new owners.