Volume 46 Number 6
Viewpoint: New Adventures in Water Treatment
Let’s see—news from around the world on water issues seems to have fallen under the radar with the U.S. presidential election and matters in the Middle East grabbing most of the headlines. Still, we’ve got a few tidbits for you.
For instance, WQA international director Andy Warnes left the association in April to rejoin the private sector as international marketing and sales director for consumer products at ZENON Environmental, of Oakville, Ontario, Canada (see “People” next month). Simultaneously, we learn from “Creative Marketing” columnist David Martin in this issue that ZENON is now producing a new whole-house ultrafiltration system for Maytag. Warnes served in international sales positions with Sta-Rite, Kinetico and Culligan prior to joining the WQA. He’ll operate out of a satellite office in Chicago.
This being the carbon issue, we also understand that Bill Eubanks, formerly of Barnebey Sutcliffe, has accepted a position as president of NORIT Americas following Barnebey’s acquisition from Waterlink by Calgon Carbon Corp. completed in February. NORIT wasn’t commenting when contacted about this in late May, but Barnebey confirmed he left the company in early May.
And one of our “Drinking Water Dollars” columnists, Neil Berlant, of The Seidler Companies, informed us in mid-May that Germany’s Siemens A.G. was the winning bidder in acquiring remaining industrial and process water assets on the block of USFilter from Paris-based Veolia Environnement. Price tag: $933 million. Interesting information in a report on the sale from TheDeal.com included the following: “The deal underlines Véolia's huge loss on USFilter, which it bought for 5.7 billion euros* ($6.8 billion) in 1999 and wrote down last year to a value of 2 billion euros, and focuses attention on its attempt to sell its last remnants.
“Véolia has told analysts it expects to achieve 640 million euros for the final unit, Culligan International Co. of Northbrook, Ill., which is about eight times its expected 2004 EBITDA.*
“Luc Averous, an analyst with Lehman Brothers, said Culligan, which makes household water filters and is a big player in the U.S. home and office delivery market, with a high profile among U.S. consumers, could even fetch up to 11 times EBITDA, or 900 million euros...
“Possible buyers for Culligan are Danone SA of Paris, which has been purchasing businesses in home and office delivery; Coca-Cola Co. of Atlanta; and Nestlé SA of Vevey, Switzerland, he said.”
So, Culligan becomes the domain of water bottlers? What about POU/POE? I’m sure we’ll find out soon. Still, the USFilter buy better positions Siemens to compete with GE Water Technologies, which has been acquiring water assets for a few years now.
Next, the Water Quality Association recently touted a few of its own headlines, namely in Lifetime and Organic Style magazines as well as on CNN and NBC’s “Today Show” in the first couple weeks of May. It plans on posting the articles to its website ASAP.
A few cheers for the regional WQAs as well. Eastern WQA and Florida WQA both now have websites (see: www.ewqa.org and www.fwqa.com). And the Ohio WQA issued a new newsletter in May. Email OWQA executive director Dan Schlosser for a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, we’d like to point out that WC&P sister publication Agua Latinoamérica signed an agreement with the AIDIS Interamericana—an association of sanitary and environmental engineers for the western hemisphere that includes some 30,000 members from Patagonia to the Hudson Bay—to be its official publication. While this means we plan to boost circulation and coverage of water and sanitation in municipal and industrial applications, we also remain committed to helping support the growing POU/POE market in Latin America.
* NOTE: 1 Euro = US$1.20 as of this writing; EBITDA - earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization