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King of Prussia-based Purolite being acquired for $3.7 billion

October 29, 2021

Source, Philadelphia Business Journal

Minnesota-based Ecolab Inc. said Thursday it will pay $3.7 billion in cash to acquire Purolite, the fast-growing King of Prussia company that makes specialty resins used in the pharmaceutical and other industries.

Purolite reports sales of around $400 million, operates in 30 countries, and employs roughly 1,000 people worldwide. Once the deal closes in the fourth quarter, Purolite will operate as a separate business unit and its results will be reported within St. Paul, Minnesota-based Ecolab’s Life Sciences division.

Purolite’s products includes a type of resin beads that are used to separate elements and compounds in industries ranging from sugar refining to manufacturing of mRNA vaccines.

In 2019, the nearly 40-year-old company relocated its longtime headquarters from Bala Cynwyd to 12,500 square feet at 2201 Renaissance Blvd. in King of Prussia. The Philadelphia Business Journal reported at the time that Purolite had 40 employees at the headquarters. In April, Purolite held a virtual groundbreaking on a new $14 million, 74,000-square-foot building in King of Prussia and has plans to invest another $25 million to fit it out and install the equipment it needs to operate the manufacturing facility.

The transaction will be the biggest M&A deal for Ecolab — known for hygiene and infection prevention products and services — since sending its “upstream energy” chemicals business to Apergy in December 2019 for $4.4 billion.

To pay for the deal, Ecolab plans to use roughly $800 million of cash that it has on hand and low-cost debt for the rest.

in its announcement, Ecolab said the acquisition of Purolite adds a high-margin product and service that improves product safety and quality for customers in the life sciences and industrial markets.

“Purolite is an acquisition that brings us a fast growing leader in biopharma and industrial purification solutions with very strong margins, said Christophe Beck, Ecolab’s president and CEO, in a statement. “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.”

Beck also said in his statement that the deal will expand Ecolab’s capabilities in industries “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.”

J.P. Morgan Securities was the exclusive financial advisor to Ecolab on the transaction and Baker McKenzie was legal counsel.