Johnson Matthey has agreed to divest its gold and silver refining business in North America to Asahi Holdings Inc., a Japan-based collector, refiner, and recycler of precious and rare metals from waste materials. The agreed price is £118million ($186 million) in cash, subject to post-closing adjustments. The transaction is expected to close by the end of March.

Johnson Matthey’s gold and silver refining business serves customers globally from refineries in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Brampton, Ontario. The refineries process a wide variety of source materials but focus primarily on precious metals concentrates and other materials sourced from mines. The business also provides investment casting services from its St. Catharines, Ontario, facility.

In total, the business employs about 340 people.

Commenting on the transaction, Johnson Matthey chief executive Robert MacLeod said, “The divestment of the gold and silver refining business is in line with our long-term strategy to focus on areas where we can use our expertise in chemistry and its applications to deliver high-technology solutions or that provide a strategic service to the wider Johnson Matthey group.”

An Asahi statement suggested that the acquired assets will be highly compatible with its existing business, given the assets’ broad sourcing of materials, their production and distribution of precious metals products, and their technological capabilities. The acquisition will also expand Asahi’s geographic reach. “We plan on leveraging both entities’ sourcing and sales networks and technologies to create synergy that will lead to the growth and profitability of our business,” the Asahi statement concluded.