Chemicals firm Ecolab has agreed to buy a French company that specializes in disinfection products for the health care industry, officials announced Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.
Ecolab's binding offer is for Laboratoires Anios, based in Lille, France. The company — which also makes hygiene products for food and beverage processors and the food service industry — employs 700 people and generates about $245 million a year.
Laboratoires Anios does business in about 85 countries. It is owned by Bertrand and Thierry Letartre and a private investment firm called Ardian.
Officials of St. Paul-based Ecolab said the transaction is expected to close in late 2016 and is being structured as a binding offer "with exclusivity protection."
The offer allows the sellers to consult with their French works councils before entering into the definitive purchase agreement, which must be approved by select regulatory and competitive authorities before closing.
In a statement, Ecolab CEO Douglas Baker said the two companies share "complementary" geographic and product footprints.
He noted that Ecolab provides hospitals and health care clinics with products for infection prevention and hygiene, and that Laboratoires Anios does so, as well.
"We are excited to join forces with Anios because of our shared passion for this mission. Their innovative product line expands the solutions we can offer while also providing a complementary geographic footprint," Baker said. "Its presence in the food and beverage processing and food service markets also complements ours."
Once the deal finalizes, Anios' CEO Bertrand Letartre and Managing Director Thierry Letartre will join Ecolab and help lead the newly acquired business.
The pending deal follows several low-key acquisitions by Ecolab, which has $14 billion in annual sales. In August 2015, Ecolab paid $40 million in cash for the U.S. operations of Swisher Hygiene Inc.
Ecolab's stock closed Wednesday at $116.79 a share, up $1.54, or 1.3 percent.
In 2014, Ecolab bought a German pest control services firm and the Florida-based AKJ Industries Inc., a steel and refinery processing and specialty chemicals company. In 2013, it bought a Purate water treatment division that was based in Amsterdam.
But all the deals are dwarfed by Ecolab's mega acquisitions from 2011 and 2013. Ecolab bought the filtration and oil and gas additive firm Nalco for $8.3 billion in December 2011 and Houston-based Champion Technologies in 2013 for $2.2 billion.
Those deals thrust Ecolab into the energy business for the first time. Since then, Ecolab's acquisitions have been smaller and more in line with its traditional cleaning, sanitizing and filtration businesses. During the past two years the oil and gas industry has been volatile, and Ecolab is among many firms hurt by the exposure.