Top Companies Report

10. Diversey

July 11, 2011

Sturtevant, WI


Sales: $3.1 billion


$3.1 billion. Net income: $64 million.

Key Personnel:

Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman; Edward F. Lonergan, president and chief executive officer; John Alexander, regional president, Americas; Moreno Dezio, regional president, Europe; Nobuyoshi Yamanaka, regional president, Japan; Yagmur Sagnak, regional president, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Middle East, Turkey; Pedro Chidichimo, president, global customer solutions and innovation.

Major Products:

Cleaning and hygiene solutions and services that are used in commercial, institutional and industrial facilities. The company operates in six categories: food service, food processing, floor care, restroom/other housekeeping, laundry and industrial. Brands include: Complete, ShowPlace, SnapBack, Virex, Alpha HP, G-Force, Crew, Soft Care, Good Sense, Endbac, Signature, J-Fill, Taski, Jonmaster, Suma, DuBois, Dify and Divermite. In addition, the company owns other well-known brands such as Butcher’s, Johnson Wax Professional, U.S. Chemical, Drackett Professional and PurEco Certified Green Products (Europe), as well as the Greenguard-Certified Healthy High Performance Cleaning program (includes products, tools and procedures).

New Products:

Proteus Activator Washing System, Signet Cleaning Chemical Service, One Step Fryer Boil-Out, Taski by Diversey floor care machine.


The deal is sealed. On June 1, Sealed Air Corporation agreed to acquire Diversey Holdings Inc. in a cash and stock transaction valued at $4.3 billion. The transaction is expected to be completed this year.

The purchase is a net gain to Diversey shareholders of $2.9 billion after accounting for $1.4 billion in debt. Much of that debt was due to Johnson Wax Professional’s 2002 acquisition of Diversey Lever to become JohnsonDiversey.

Sealed Air, the Bubble Wrap maker, calls itself a leading provider of food and industrial system solutions that help ensure that food retains its freshness, products arrive undamaged, and transit efficiencies are maximized to reduce energy and waste. Sealed Air is focused on pioneering a differentiated, proprietary range of offerings in material science, automation technology and service-based solutions in order to provide comprehensive solutions to its customers. Sealed Air operates in 52 countries, employs more than 16,000 people and generated net sales of $4.5 billion in 2010.

“This transaction represents a strategic growth opportunity that leverages Sealed Air’s core competencies and positions our company to further capitalize on the megatrends that drive both businesses,” said William V. Hickey, president and chief executive officer, Sealed Air. “With Diversey, we will expand our footprint beyond specialty packaging solutions by gaining entry into a $40+ billion chemical cleaning and hygiene industry that has attractive fundamentals and is already in our value chain. This combination is also financially compelling, and we expect it to deliver enhanced earnings per share and free cash flow generation, creating meaningful value for our shareholders.”

After the transaction closes, Edward F. Lonergan, president and chief executive officer of Diversey, and his team will join Sealed Air and Lonergan will continue to lead the Diversey business.

According to the companies, the move creates a global leader in sustainable solutions that provide hygiene, protection, food safety and security; extends the geographic footprint and enhances growth opportunities in developing regions, expands revenue opportunity with overlapping customer base, broadens solutions offering and combines complementary business models.

Obviously, the sale will end the Johnson family’s control of Diversey. Until the acquisition by Sealed Air, the Johnson family owned 51% of Diversey. After the closing, Diversey shareholders will own about 15% of Sealed Air common stock.

In an interview with The Journal Times of Racine, Helen Johnson-Leipold, Diversey’s chairman,called the sale, “difficult because we have pride in ownership in building a company into what it is.”

The only other company sale experience the Johnson family has is the 2006 sale of Diversey subsidiary Johnson Polymer to BASF. In smaller deals, SC Johnson sold Edge, Johnson Outdoors sold its rod-and-reel business and Johnson Financial Group sold its Swiss subsidiary.

At press time, Sealed Air plans to maintain Diversey’s business unit for the Americas, and research and development functions. Diversey employs more than 600 at the site.

For its part, Sealed Air spokesman Ken Aurichio said no workforce-related decisions have been made. “In this case, while the businesses are complementary, they’re still fairly stand-alone.” Aurichio added, “I wouldn’t see any sort of dramatic reductions” in workforce.

Johnson-Leipold also told The Journal Times that no decisions have been made. “But I think it’s obvious we provide a different skill set than Sealed Air.”

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