Water Industry News

General Electric to buy Ionics 
-- will join Osmonics in membrane manufacture

General Electric Co. (GE) agreed to acquire Ionics Inc. (ION) for about $1.1 billion plus debt. The conglomerate plans to fold the company into its own water-services business. 

The per-share price of $44 cash represents a rich 48% premium to Ionics' closing price of $29.75 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. 

Ionics, Watertown, Mass., specializes in desalination, water reuse and recycling, and industrial water services. 

The company will join the GE Infrastructure unit's Water & Process Technologies business after the deal closes in the first half of 2005.

GE Infrastructure continues to grow

GE Infrastructure and Ionics, Inc. announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for GE's acquisition of Ionics in an all cash merger for $44 per share, valuing the transaction at approximately $1.1 billion plus the assumption of existing debt. Ionics is a global leader in desalination, water reuse & recycling, and industrial ultrapure water services. Ionics will join GE Infrastructure’s Water & Process Technologies business unit upon completion 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," said Bill Woodburn, President and CEO of GE Infrastructure. "The combination of Ionics’ technology, project experience, and services network with GE’s operating and project finance expertise will accelerate the 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, CEO of Ionics said, "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, GE Infrastructure’s President of Water & Process Technologies said, "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," Oliver said. "The acquisition of Ionics reinforces our commitment to our customers by providing the services they need to remain productive and profitable."