Imerys S.A. is a French multinational company which specialises in the production and processing of industrial minerals. It is headquartered in Paris and is a constituent of the CAC Mid 60 index.Imerys has operations in 50 countries and has more than 16,000 employees. It extracts and processes rocks and minerals on behalf of customers in the manufacturing and construction industries. Groupe Bruxelles Lambert is the largest shareholder of Imerys. The Company was founded in 1880 and for many years was known as Imetal. It was founded by the Rothschild family, combining a few of their many subsidiaries in the metals and mining industries.The group's original activity was mining and transforming nickel. Its original name was Société Penarroya—Le Nickel (SLN). In the 1970s, the Group diversified and expanded its business. A holding company was created under the name of Imetal.From 1990 onwards, Imetal focused its development on industrial minerals, pursuing an acquisition policy. The Group established positions in the white pigments business and then the graphite market. It later grew through acquisitions in refractories, clays, ceramic bodies and technical ceramics. Between 1994 and 1998, Imetal doubled in size: one-third through organic growth and two-thirds through external growth. In 1998, the business was structured around two sectors (Mineral Transformation and Metal Transformation) and organized into operating divisions.In 1998, Imetal took over English China Clays plc, a major UK producer of white pigments (kaolin and calcium carbonates), and then changed its name to Imerys. Following this acquisition, Imetal refocused its activity on minerals processing, selling its Metal Transformation business, including the North American companies Copperweld and Copperweld Canada (now Fushi Copperweld). To mark this development, Imetal changed its name, giving birth to Imerys on 22 September 1999.