Ecolab Inc. (St. Paul, Minn.) has entered into an agreement to acquire Purolite, a provider of high-end ion exchange resins for the separation and purification of solutions, which is critical to safe, high quality drug production and biopharma product purification in the life sciences industries. It also provides purification and separation solutions for critical industrial markets like microelectronics, nuclear power and food and beverage. The acquisition is structured as a cash transaction valued at approximately $3.7 billion. Based in King of Prussia, PA, Purolite operates in more than 30 countries and employs approximately 1,000 people worldwide, with expected 2021 sales of approximately $0.4 billion. Purolite will operate as a separate global business unit and its overall results will be reported within Ecolab’s Life Sciences division. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory clearance and other customary closing conditions. No other details were announced.
Commenting on the transaction, Christophe Beck, Ecolab’s president and chief executive officer said, “With 2021 sales of $0.4 billion and mid-teens growth, Purolite is an acquisition that brings us a fast growing leader in biopharma and industrial purification solutions with very strong margins. With this transaction, we will significantly increase our opportunities in our high growth, high margin life sciences business, such as the purification of mRNA vaccines and monoclonal antibodies for cancer-treatment drugs. By combining Ecolab’s state-of-the-art capabilities in clean and safe processing with Purolite’s revolutionary resin technology, we will provide a comprehensive and game-changing offering that will make the customer’s end-product better, safer, healthier and more effective. At the same time, it will further expand our capabilities in industries that are complementary to our already existing leading positions, such as the polishing of advanced microelectronics, ultra-purification of water in nuclear power, food and beverage taste and product quality enhancement, high-end precious metals extraction, like lithium for EV batteries, as well as in the production of hydrogen fuel cells.
“It provides another strong and adjacent global growth platform within Ecolab with double-digit growth prospects in both our life sciences and industrial markets. It opens up new opportunities for innovation, circle the customer sales opportunities and future M&A. This new growth platform will provide high end purification solutions that further improve the quality and safety of life-saving drugs, high quality foods and ultra-pure water for high tech industries. It also provides new solutions to further improve our water re-use and re-cycling offerings as well as innovative solutions to improve our environmental programs for customers, such as PFAS remediation.
“We are also truly excited by the unique talent, scientific expertise and new capabilities Purolite brings us to further improve our leadership positions and deliver continued strong shareholder returns.”
Also commenting on the transaction, Steve Brodie, Purolite’s chief executive officer said, “Over the last 40 years, with the support and contribution of our loyal, highly skilled workforce, we have built our company into a dynamic force within the industries and for the clients we serve. We are truly grateful to our employees and management team for supporting our vision and entrepreneurial spirit. My family and I are very confident that Ecolab can carry on these traditions. We are confident that Purolite will be in good hands and that our goals for high growth, innovation and quality will continue under Ecolab’s stewardship.”
Ecolab will pay approximately $3.7 billion in cash, utilizing approximately $800 million of cash on the company’s balance sheet and low-cost debt for the balance. As a result of the structure of the transaction, we expect to realize tax benefits with an estimated net present value of approximately $300 million. Returns are expected to be significantly above our weighted average cost of capital.
As this is a growth synergies acquisition, Ecolab expects to realize only modest cost synergies from the Purolite transaction. The acquisition is expected to be neutral in 2022 and nearly $0.10 accretive in 2023 to adjusted earnings per share; transaction amortization expected to be approximately $0.26 per share.
Ecolab expects to maintain its strong investment grade credit rating post-acquisition and is planning to return to ‘A range’ metrics in 2023.
J.P. Morgan Securities acted as exclusive financial advisor to Ecolab in connection with the transaction and Baker McKenzie acted as legal counsel.