Hercules Incorporated announced today that it has completed the sale of the Water Treatment Services business of its BetzDearborn Division to GE Specialty Materials, a unit of General Electric Company.
The move launches GE into a new business segment and adds $1 billion in annual sales to GE Specialty Materials. The new business will be known as GE Betz.
The Paper Process Chemicals business, which today represents approximately one-third of the BetzDearborn company purchased by Hercules in 1998, will remain with Hercules and has been completely integrated into the company's Pulp and Paper Division.
In addition, Hercules will have an agreement with GE to distribute and service BetzDearborn's water treatment products to the pulp and paper industry.
The purchase price is $1.8 billion in cash, with net after tax proceeds of approximately $1.665 billion. As previously announced, the proceeds from the divestiture will be used by Hercules to reduce debt and serve as collateral for outstanding letters of credit.
"GE Betz will provide growth opportunities and give us the ability to enhance and expand our customer offerings," said William Woodburn, president and chief executive officer of GE Specialty Materials. "The GE Betz team is ready to integrate our people and our operating systems. We are very enthusiastic about the high quality of this technically savvy organization and its ability to quickly adopt GE's initiatives of Six Sigma and Digitization. We are confident that there will be a marked increase in customer and employee value that will result from GE Betz."
George Oliver has been named GE Betz vice president and general manager. Oliver previously was vice president and general manager, GE Engine Services.