After a string of smaller acquisitions over the past year, the Delaware-based specialty chemical company Solenis announced a deal in March that promises to transform the company.
Solenis is acquiring Diversey, a global producer of consumer and commercial cleaning products. It’s an all-cash deal worth $4.6 billion. Serving the hospitality, health care and food and beverage industries, Diversey has more than 85,000 customers in more than 80 countries and employs about 9,000 worldwide.
“In combining these two complementary businesses, we expect to usher in a new and exciting chapter in our long history,” Solenis CEO John Panichella said in a statement.
Solenis is a fast-growing company that produces chemicals used in so-called “water-intensive” industries. Its teams work on everything from food packaging and tissue and towel production to pulp processing and chemical solutions for oil and gas production.
The company’s recent growth has been catalyzed by Platinum Equity, a California private equity firm. The firm acquired Solenis for $5.25 billion in 2021. In the time since, Solenis has acquired four small businesses worldwide and has announced expansion plans in Delaware.
What Diversey brings
Based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Diversey is a leading provider of hygiene, infection prevention and cleaning solutions. It counts Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Lysol, Finish dishwasher detergent and Air Wick air freshener, as a client.
In his statement, Panichella said the companies offer “truly differentiated solutions.” Diversey CEO Phil Wieland said the deal builds a more diversified business while improving scale and global reach. They believe there are opportunities to “cross-sell” the companies’ products.
They’ve already worked together in a smaller capacity. In 2021, the companies formed a partnership in which Diversey distributed Solenis water and process treatment chemicals to the food and beverage industry. The agreement gave Solenis access to Diversey’s customer base while combining the companies’ solutions for the industry.
Growing through acquisitions
The acquisition of Diversey caps a 15-month period in which Solenis brought in at least five different companies. The deals targeted a variety of sectors across Solenis’ consumer-facing solutions and industry solutions markets.
In January 2022, Solenis acquired a German company that produces DMA3, a raw material used in the production of synthetic polymers and applied in pulp and paper production, food processing and other industries. DMA3 is used for the polymer polyacrylamide, which Solenis views as a strategic growth priority.
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Five months later, Solenis bought a Turkish water treatment and oil and gas company to improve access to the local market. Solenis added Clearon Corp., a West Virginia company that makes chemicals to treat pool water, in the early fall to expand its pool and spa treatments business.
The company’s most recent addition prior to the Diversey deal was Kolb Distribution, a paper process chemicals unit of a Swiss company called KLK Kolb Group.
Solenis in Delaware
Although much of Solenis’ recent growth is concentrated abroad, the company has plans to expand in the First State, too.
A $40 million research and development facility will soon be one of the centerpieces of the Chestnut Run Innovation and Science Park. The park is the former DuPont campus off Route 141 near Elsmere that is being redeveloped by MRA Group of Pennsylvania.
The state’s Council on Development Finance in October committed about $4 million in taxpayer money to Solenis for the new facility. Within three years, Solenis plans to hire 46 people there. About 140 workers will transition from the company’s current R&D site.
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That site is part of Ashland’s campus off Hercules Road. Solenis was formerly known as Ashland Water Technologies and consisted of the industrial water and the pulp and paper units of Ashland’s business. When Ashland sold the units in 2014 to a private equity firm it took on the name Solenis, a combination of “solutions” and “genesis.”
In 2019, Solenis merged with BASF, a similar paper and water chemicals company. A year later, Solenis moved its headquarters to the Avenue North campus in Fairfax off Concord Pike.
Platinum Equity acquired Solenis in 2021 for $5.25 billion. Solenis employs more than 300 workers in Delaware.
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Contact Brandon Holveck at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @holveck_brandon.