Ecolab is buying a Flemish livestock biosecurity and hygiene company, opening a new niche market for the St. Paul-based cleaning chemical and water-filtration services firm.
Officials said Thursday that Ecolab would buy privately owned CID Lines, adding 300 employees and $113 million in annual revenue to the $15 billion giant best known for servicing hospitality, factory and institutional customers.
Terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter.
CID Lines specializes in cleaning, disinfectant and hygiene chemicals used on pig, poultry and dairy farms. Its customers include 300,000 farms in more than 100 countries.
Nick Alfano, Ecolab’s global food and beverage manager, said the move offers growth opportunities, especially in Asia “where this segment is rapidly developing.”
“CID Lines’ strong product portfolio, range of applications and regulatory expertise for farming environments give Ecolab a foothold in the growing livestock and poultry biosecurity segment, as well as opportunities to leverage our global presence to drive expansion,” he said.
Industry experts noted the growing global importance of controlling diseases on commercial pig, turkey and chicken farms, which can face challenges such as overcrowding and possible outbreaks of avian flu, African swine fever, listeria and other diseases. Some of these issues have impacted China and U.S. producers such as Hormel, Jennie-O and Cargill in recent years.
Ecolab officials note that there are several trends increasing demand for better sanitation and “biosecurity” measures on farms. They include the move to larger herd and flock sizes; increased protein production; and the reduced use of antibiotics being pushed by both consumers and some scientists.
“We look forward to continuing this growth trajectory and partnering with Ecolab moving forward,” said CID Lines co-founder and CEO Koen Brutsaert. “Our focus on animal health aligns with Ecolab’s values around safe food and healthy environments.”
CID has nearly 300 employees in Belgium, France, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Middle East. They are expected to become Ecolab workers after the deal closes.