GE to acquire Ionics to expand water, process treatment capabilities

Wilton, CT—To grow its water and process treatment platform, and add desalination, water reuse, and industrial, ultra-pure water services, General Electric Co.’s GE Infrastructure unit has agreed to acquire Ionics Inc. for about $1.1 billion in cash, plus assumption of existing debt.


Wilton, CT— To grow its water and process treatment platform, and add desalination, water reuse, and industrial, ultra-pure water services, General Electric Co.’s GE Infrastructure unit has agreed to acquire Ionics Inc. for about $1.1 billion, plus assumption of existing debt. Ionics delivers desalination, water reuse and recycling, and industrial ultrapure water services worldwide. Ionics will join GE Infrastructure's Water & Process Technologies business unit when the purchase closes.

The acquisition requires approval by at least two-thirds of Ionics’ outstanding common shareholders, as well as the usual government approvals, and other customary conditions. It is expected to close in the first half of 2005. Some of Ionics stockholders, representing approximately 20% of the outstanding Ionics common stock, have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

'Water is the lifeblood of industries and communities around the world, and scarcity, increasing demand and rising costs are driving the need to conserve, reuse and identify new supplies of this essential resource,' says Bill Woodburn, GE Infrastructure’s president and CEO. 'The combination of Ionics' technology, project experience, and services network with GE's operating and project finance expertise will accelerate development of technology solutions for the global water purification segment. We see significant revenue and cost synergies that will enable us to focus our resources on developing technologies that increase access to safe drinking water and provide industrial customers with greater access to ultrapure water sources.'

Doug Brown, Ionics CEO, adds that, 'Through this merger we create the opportunity to serve our industrial and municipal customers in new and exciting ways. Both GE and Ionics are focused on building the water services business. By combining our technology with GE's and by accessing GE's financial expertise and world class international organization, we substantially enhance our ability to deliver our water purification services globally.'

George Oliver, president of GE Infrastructure's Water & Process Technologies unit, adds that, 'This acquisition strengthens GE's commitment to people, technology and solutions. There are great synergies between the two companies. GE currently has more than 2,000 scientists and engineers focused on improving water quality for industrial and commercial use, and the addition of Ionics expands our ability to provide solutions to our customers' most pressing water needs. Ionics has established technologies, engineering resources and global desalination management capabilities that gives GE a significant presence in the potable water segment.

'Because Ionics utilizes multiple technologies for its emergency mobile fleet, we will be able to offer expanded services for our industrial customers who need immediate assistance treating their water supply. The acquisition of Ionics reinforces our commitment to our customers by providing the services they need to remain productive and profitable.'

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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