Ecolab Agrees to Pay $2.2 Billion for Champion Technologies

Andrew Klips  |

Looking to broaden its footprint in the growing energy services market, Ecolab Inc. (ECL) said Friday morning that it plans to buy privately-held Champion Technologies in a deal valued at $2.2 billion. Per the agreement, Ecolab will pay approximately $1.7 billion in cash and issue about eight million shares of Ecolab common stock, subject to certain adjustments at and after closing.

Houston, Texas-based Champion Technologies is a global specialty chemical company with 3,300 employees in more than 30 countries delivering engineered programs for upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas markets. 2011 sales totaled $1.3 billion. Ecolab, a developer and marketer of products and services for the hospitality, food service, healthcare and industrial markets, currently has more than 40,000 employees working across 160 countries and generated pro forma sales of $11 billion in 2011.

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The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2012 and be cash and earnings accretive in 2013, according to Ecolab. The deal is not expected to impact the remaining $280 million of Ecolab’s $1 billion share repurchase program, which is slated to be completed in 2013.

St. Paul, Minnesota-based Ecolab also said it expects adjusted third-quarter profit of 87 cents a share. This was at the high end of its previous guidance of $0.83 - $0.87; in line with analyst expectations and representing 16 percent growth over the year prior quarter.

"The deal is terrific financially as well. Like our current Nalco Global Energy Services business, Champion offers very attractive growth and an annuity-like revenue model generating steady and predictable earnings patterns similar to our legacy Ecolab businesses. It is also highly synergistic, driving a run-rate of $150 million in cost synergies by the end of 2015,” said Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Ecolab's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Analysts have been relatively bullish on Ecolab recently. Piper Jaffray initiated coverage with an overweight rating on Wednesday. Early in September, Deutsche Bank reiterated its buy rating and moved their price target to $75 per share. Not quite as optimistic, Zacks currently has a neutral rating and a $67 price target.

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