Basel (CH) and Los Angeles, California (USA), Nov. 1 — Lonza and Platinum Equity jointly announced today that Platinum Equity has entered into a definitive agreement with Lonza to acquire Lonza's Water Care business and operations for USD 630 million. The inclusion of the French business in this transaction is still under discussion.
With headquarters in Alpharetta, GA (USA), Water Care has six manufacturing facilities in key regions, including North America, South America, EMEA and South Africa, with sales locations in all regions globally and with approximately 1,200 employees. The business is a leading provider of innovative water treatment solutions and a top global consumer brand in residential pool care and key positions in high-growth industrial and municipal water care markets. The agreement is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.
"We are putting the Water Care business in the hands of an experienced owner who will develop Water Care as a stand-alone business while focusing on innovation and further growth. We believe that we have found the optimal partner for the business to give new perspectives to the global sites and its employees," said Richard Ridinger, CEO of Lonza. "The divestment further strengthens our strategic focus on our three core pillars – Pharma & Biotech, Consumer Health and Consumer & Resources Protection – within the healthcare continuum."
Lonza already announced in May this year that it had retained an investment bank to advise on all strategic options regarding its Water Care business as part of an active portfolio management approach. The strategic review was publicly confirmed at Lonza's Capital Markets Day in September 2018. After a robust analysis of options, Lonza decided now to divest the Water Care business as part of its long-term strategy to grow sustainably along the healthcare continuum and to focus all growth initiatives and investments on its core businesses.
Lonza acquired the Water Care business as part of its acquisition of Arch Chemicals in 2011 and developed it as part of the Specialty Ingredients segment. The business provides offerings for recreational water, as well as for industrial, municipal, commercial and surface water treatments and has leading positions in several markets worldwide.
Platinum Equity is a global private equity firm with approximately USD 13 billion of assets under management and a highly specialized focus on business operations. The firm has substantial carve-out expertise, with more than 20 years' experience acquiring and operating businesses that have been part of large corporate entities.
"We are looking forward to working with Water Care's experienced management team to further grow the business and strengthen its unique positioning in residential pool care and industrial water markets around the world," said Platinum Equity Partner Jacob Kotzubei. "Lonza's Water Care business has tremendous value as a standalone company."
Platinum Equity operates each of its portfolio companies independently and will apply this approach to the Water Care business with the goal of creating long-term, sustainable value. Lonza's Water Care business has already been focusing on brand restaging, innovation and e-commerce; and this agreement now provides the team the opportunity to fully focus on further growing its business, innovative product portfolio and global footprint in both residential and industrial water treatments. Water Care's business unit head Christian Wichert and his experienced management team will continue to lead the business.
The carve-out and ownership transfer process is expected to be seamless to customers. Platinum Equity said that ensuring consistency, continuity and quality will be a priority following closing.
Citi is acting as financial advisor and Jenner & Block LLP as legal advisor to Lonza. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is acting as legal advisor to Platinum Equity on the acquisition.