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Solenis to acquire Swiss chemical business

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Solenis, a water treatment and chemicals company firm headquartered at Avenue North in the Wilmington suburbs, will acquire a Swiss chemical manufacturer to expand its overseas markets. | 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 the paper process chemicals business of a Swiss company.

Kolb Distribution Ltd., a unit of KLK Kolb Group headquartered about 5 miles south of Zurich, would be acquired by Solenis and KLK Kolb will enter into a long-term supply agreement to manufacture paper process chemicals exclusively for Solenis.

The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2023, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. The terms of the deal between the private companies were not disclosed. Solenis and KLK Kolb will continue to operate as independent companies until the deal closes.

“Kolb’s outstanding reputation is built on their customer-centric and high-quality service business model. We are excited to welcome the Kolb team and their excellent product portfolio as we continue to strive toward being the best-in-class provider of paper process chemicals,” said John Panichella, CEO of Solenis, in a statement announcing the deal.

The acquisition of Kolb comes shortly after Solenis acquired West Virginia chemical manufacturer Clearon, Turkish product supply manufacturer Neu Kimya Anonim Şirketi and SCL GmbH, a German chemical producer.

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.

“Solenis is proving to be an outstanding platform for growth, both organically and through strategic M&A,” Platinum Equity partner Jacob Kotzubei said in a statement. “We will continue working with John and the management team to find more opportunities to help the company expand.”

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.

KLK Kolb Group offers a broad portfolio of paper process chemicals, including deposit control, cleaning and foam control agents primarily for the European, Middle Eastern, and African (EMEA) pulp and paper markets.

“Establishing a long-term supply agreement will provide customers throughout EMEA assurance of supply for cost-effective and high-quality products,” said Jonas Boström, vice president and general manager of EMEA consumer solutions for Solenis, in a statement. “The added range of process technologies and product flexibility ensures that we can meet even more application-specific product needs.” 

Solenis now has 49 manufacturing facilities worldwide and employs over 6,400 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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