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Solenis to acquire W.Va. chemical producer

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Solenis, a water treatment firm headquartered at Avenue North in the Wilmington suburbs, was acquired last year by a private equity firm for $5.25 billion. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON — Solenis, the Wilmington-headquartered global producer of specialty chemicals used in water-intensive industries, has reached a deal to acquire a West Virginian chemical producer aimed at the treatment of residential and commercial pool water.

Clearon Corp., based in South Charleston, W.Va., is a more than 60-year-old firm led by President and CEO J. Bryan Kitchen. The firm is a leading manufacturer of chlorinated dry bleach tablets used in an array of applications including water treatment, disinfection, and sanitization. Solenis was especially interested to acquire the company and its West Virginia plant for its market value in pool treatment, a growth avenue for the company.

Clearon is a 60-year-old firm that produces chlorinated dry bleach tablets commonly used to clean pools. | PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOGLE MAPS

“Clearon is an important accelerator in our strategic growth road map and will be a step change in our ability to delight customers and consumers,” said Robert Baird, president of Pool Solutions at Solenis, in a statement. “We’re excited to add Clearon’s impressive portfolio of consumer solutions and remain vigilant in our quest to build the world’s leading company in pool and water care solutions.”  

The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of 2022, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. The terms of the deal between the private companies were not disclosed. Solenis and Clearon will continue to operate as independent companies until the deal closes.

“Once closed, this transaction will align the strong legacy and complementary capabilities of two remarkable companies, both of whom are committed to safe, reliable and sustainable operations for the betterment of their customers and the communities in which they operate. This combination will allow our customers to be met with a diverse portfolio of solutions while providing tremendous growth opportunities for Clearon’s most precious asset, our employees,” Kitchen said in a statement.

The acquisition of Clearon comes shortly after Solenis acquired Turkish product supply manufacturer Neu Kimya Anonim Şirketi and earlier SCL GmbH, a German producer of dimethylaminoethyl acrylate, or DMA3, a primary raw material in the production of a group of water-soluble polymers with a wide range of applications.

Solenis, which was acquired by California-based private equity investment firm Platinum Equity last fall for $5.25 billion, emerged from former Hercules and Ashland water treatment divisions dating back to 1907, launching its current iteration in 2015.

“This acquisition will help Solenis fulfill a strategic growth initiative following our recent ownership change to Platinum Equity, driving value through our branded Pool Solutions sanitization product line while providing an enhanced customer experience through expanded offerings and cost-effective pool solutions,” John Panichella, CEO of Solenis, said in a statement. “We continue to work closely with the Platinum Equity team to identify opportunities to add value for our customers and drive growth for the Solenis team.”  

Solenis currently serves two primary segments: consumer solutions for food packaging, graphic paper, and tissue and towel markets; and industrial solutions for core water treatment and wastewater markets. As a result of its Platinum Equity acquisition, it also merged operations with former firm Sigura, which specialized in the production and sale of water care solutions and value-added services for residential and commercial pool and spa applications as well as industrial markets.

Solenis now has 47 manufacturing facilities worldwide and employs over 6,000 in 120 countries across five continents. It opened a new headquarters at Avenue North off U.S. Route 202 in 2020, and employs about 200 people in Delaware there and a research and development lab leased on the Ashland campus off Hercules Road.

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