In recent years, the global water treatment chemicals market has been drastically reshaped by acquisitions -- some by leading players -- that are expected to have long-term implications in the industry. These transactions enable firms to broaden their product scopes, enter new geographic markets and create more comprehensive water treatment offerings for customers.
One major acquisition is LANXESS’ April 2017 purchase of Chemtura for nearly $3 billion. LANXESS bought the Philadelphia-based specialty chemicals and polymers producer in an effort to diversify away from its core synthetic rubber business, which has struggled in recent years. The addition of Chemtura expands LANXESS’ specialty additives business and brings a variety of bromine-based specialty chemicals into LANXESS’ portfolio, including biocides suitable for industrial water treatment.
Another sizable transaction is SUEZ’s March 2017 plan to acquire General Electric’s GE Water & Process Technologies business. SUEZ, an international water distribution and water treatment service provider, intends to merge its industrial water-related operations with GE Water & Process Technologies to create a new business that will employ 9,500 and have annual sales of nearly $3 billion. GE Water & Process Technologies will make SUEZ more vertically integrated through the addition of such products as corrosion and scale inhibitors, biocides, and other chemicals and equipment. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is teaming up with SUEZ to make the acquisition, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2017.
In 2015, Danaher’s ChemTreat subsidiary acquired Lipesa Colombia, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals for water treatment, oil and gas drilling, refinery, pulp and paper, and other applications. With operations in Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, Lipesa gives ChemTreat a much stronger presence in the South American market. ChemTreat is a major supplier of industrial water treatment chemicals, with six plants in the US.
In early 2017, Japan’s Kurita Water Industries, a key supplier of water treatment chemicals and related facilities, purchased Shakopee, Minnesota-based Fremont Industries. Fremont makes water treatment chemicals for pretreatment, steam generation, cooling, process, potable, and wastewater systems for the industrial, commercial and institutional markets. This acquisition was part of Kurita’s plan to accelerate its growth in the US market. In FY 2016, North America accounted for only one percent of the company’s sales, while the Asia/Pacific region comprised nearly 90 percent.
Need more information? For historical demand data and forecasts by product and geographic region, see Global Water Treatment Chemicals, an industry study published by The Freedonia Group. The study also discusses market environment factors, industry structure, company market share, and leading companies.