Top Companies Report

26. Zep

July 11, 2011

Atlanta, GA


Sales: $568 million


$568 million. Net income: $13 million for the year ended Aug. 31, 2010.

Key Personnel:

John K. Morgan, chairman, president and chief executive officer; Mark R. Bachmann, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Robert P. Collins, vice president and chief administrative officer; Jeffrey J. Sorensen, vice president and chief marketing officer; Philip A. Theodore, vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary; Jeffrey L. Fleck, vice president and chief supply chain officer.

Major Products:

Industrial and institutional cleaners. Brands include: Zep, Zep Commercial, Zep Professional, Enforcer, National Chemical and Selig; Misty, i-Chem, Next Dimension (acquisition), TimeMist, TimeWick, MicrobeMax, CountryVet and Niagara National.

New Products:

Zep Biofilm Drain Purge, Zep Peroxy-Serve, Zep ProVisions Foodservice Cleaning Line (range extension).


Zep had a lot of zip this year. For the year ended Aug. 31, 2010, sales jumped 13.5% to $568 million, while net income rose 5% to more than $13 million.

Fiscal 2010 was a pivotal year for Zep. It marked the completion of a three-year makeover of the company. According to John K. Morgan, chairman, president and chief executive officer, “In virtually every way possible, our hard-working associates have transformed our business into a far more efficient, more focused and more forward-looking company.

“In the face of a challenging economic environment, our associates were able to increase the value we provide to our customers, expand our access to market, improve our profit margins, and acquire and integrate businesses while generating significant cash flow,” he added.

More specifically, Zep:

• Significantly broadened its go-to-market strategy, expanded the retail sales channel and network of distributors, and invested in acquisitive growth. Simultaneously, Zep added experienced sales reps using a new recruitment model designed to yield a faster return on investment and provided new price optimization tools that will further empower its sales reps.

• Completed three acquisitions, Amrep, Waterbury Companies and Niagara National. Each of these companies contributed to a broadened product line, provided access to additional markets, as well as increased top line growth and overall profitability, according to the company.

• Was strengthened financially. Since becoming a publicly traded company and prior to the acquisitions, it reduced debt by 53%, and, during the past two years, reduced the breakeven point of its legacy business by nearly 30%.

• Became more efficient by trimming its product line by more than 4,000 SKUs, which affected only 1% of sales, consolidated North American distribution network from 41 to 17 strategically-located facilities and reduced the non-sales headcount by more than 28%.

• Decentralized business to push decisions closer to the customers.

In retail, Zep Commercial and private-branded product lines with both existing and new customers announced new relationships with Advanced Auto Parts and AutoZone while also launching its refreshed Enforcer brand.

Zep also acquired Niagara National of Atlanta, GA, a manufacturer in automatic truck wash systems and products, for an undisclosed price. This acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings during fiscal 2011. Ron Kirschner, president of Niagara, and the majority of its employees will remain with the company.

The Niagara brand of custom truck wash, pressure washers, water recovery systems and maintenance chemicals is expected to bulk up Zep’s transportation product portfolio.

Morgan addressed the company’s trio of acquisitions in the last nine months. “The first was Amrep, which was immediately accretive to earnings, expands our access to the retail and distributor channels, and provides significant private label capabilities. We recently completed our acquisition of certain brands and assets of Waterbury Companies, which we expect will enhance Amrep’s leading position as a provider of air care delivery systems and products for facilities maintenance. Our third acquisition, while much smaller than the first two, included the assets of Niagara National and complements our strength in our vehicle wash business, specifically in the high quality truck and fleet washing equipment markets.”

In February 2011, Zep Inc. unveiled a new corporate logo that celebrates decades of Zep brand leadership while providing an updated look for the future direction of the company.

For the six months ended Feb. 28, 2011, Zep’s sales jumped nearly 20% to more than $304 million. Net income rose more than 10% to $7 million.

In April, Zep renewed and expanded its contract to provide maintenance products to the US federal government. GSA Schedule 73, under Zep Sales & Service, will continue for five additional years. The renewed schedule covers a broad range of cleaning and maintenance products.

Zep Sales & Service offers more than 100 GreenLink products as part of this Schedule and has added the ProVisions line of dishwashing detergents, food service cleaners and sanitizers.

Related End-User Markets:

  • Slow & Steady

    Slow & Steady

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    In a tumultuous environment, steady gains posted in the industrial and institutional cleaning sector are welcomed.

  • Silent Partners

    Silent Partners

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 2, 2015
    I&I suppliers are behind-the-scenes, but critical partners that help keep businesses running and consumers safe.

  • Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory

    Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory

    October 1, 2015
    Our directory is your source to find a manufacturer to get your product to market.

  • Trade Association Directory 2014

    February 7, 2014
    Following are the contact details of trade associations that serve various segments of our industry and are mentioned frequently in the pages of Happi. Associations that are not listed but wish to be included should contact Tom Branna, Happi/Rodman Media, Ramsey, NJ Tel: (201) 880-2223; Fax: (201) 825-0553; Email:

  • As the World Turns…

    As the World Turns…

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 4, 2013
    Surfactant suppliers must be agile to meet the needs of their customers whenever and wherever consumer demand takes them.

  • Expanding to India

    Expanding to India

    Gunjan Bagla, Amritt, Inc.||August 2, 2013
    Advice for international CPG companies on how to avoid pitfalls while taking advantage of opportunities in this fast-growing country.

  • Happi 2013 International Top 30

    Happi 2013 International Top 30

    August 2, 2013
    Emerging markets play a key role in growth plans

  • A New Normal?

    A New Normal?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 6, 2012
    The industrial and institutional cleaning market is struggling to regain pre-recession growth rates, but some observers say the days of picking low-hanging fruit are over.

  • Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory

    October 1, 2012
    Searching for a partner to manufacture your skin care formula or your new hard surface cleaner? Check out our directory, which was updated this month.

  • Spanning the Globe

    Spanning the Globe

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 31, 2012
    Most surfactant suppliers will go to the ends of the earth these days in search of growth as gains in developed markets slow.

  • People, Places  Things

    People, Places Things

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 10, 2011
    Now more than ever, successful I&I companies have the right mix of personnel, categories and effective products.

  • Wipes With Recycled Fibers

    Steve Katz||September 16, 2011
    Wipes makers have recycled fibers at their disposal for manufacturing, with perhaps more on the way.

  • Smart Foam Control For II Cleaning

    Smart Foam Control For II Cleaning

    Dr. Corinna Bu00f6hme, Dr. Sabine Both, Dr. Hans-Christian Raths, Frederic Bauer and Josefine Schru00f6der, Care Chemicals, Home Care and I&I Cognis GmbH, now part of BASF||April 5, 2011
    A hydrophilic defoamer from Cognis has a good environmental profile, is easy to work with and improves cleaning performance.

  • The II Outlook

    The II Outlook

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 3, 2010
    Cost-containment and pathogen kill are the key to success in the competitive industrial and institutional cleaning market.

  • II Rebounds

    II Rebounds

    November 22, 2005
    Driven by demand in the food service and lodging segments, the industrial and institutional cleaning industry is growing again.

  • The II Regroups

    The II Regroups

    November 9, 2005
    The events of Sept. 11 had a direct impact on several key segments.

  • Slow Growth for Chemical Specialties

    Slow Growth for Chemical Specialties

    November 9, 2005
    Major categories may be slumping, but household cleaning cloths have posted solid gains.

  • The II Report

    November 7, 2005
    With the public�s awareness of harmful germs growing daily, the I&I industry is providing the weapons to kill germs in schools, offices and hospitals.

  • The Surfactant Market

    November 7, 2005
    Mergers and acquisitions have changed some of the players in the segment, but suppliers insist the issues, including claim substantiation, mildness and multifunctionlaity, remain the same.

  • The II Market

    The II Market

    October 31, 2005
    With the economy on track, concern about health issues on the rise and innovative ideas to keep a variety of surfaces clean, marketers report a perfect storm to maintain growth.