In the war on germs, Diversey serves as a first line of defense. The company is one of world's largest manufacturers of industrial and institutional cleaning, hygiene, and sanitation products, trailing only Ecolab. Diversey also tackles the job of floor care, housekeeping and room care, and laundry and hand care. It provides safety and hygiene training and consulting, too. Customers include food service operators and food and beverage processing plants, as well as retailers, building service contractors, and lodging and healthcare facilities in some 175 countries. Europe accounts for more than half of the company's sales. Diversey was sold to Sealed Air Corporation (SAC) for about $2.6 billion in October 2011.
Diversey expands SAC's business both geographically and operationally, beyond specialty packaging solutions, into the chemical cleaning and hygiene marketplace. Under the deal, Diversey shareholders received $2.1 billion in cash and about 15% of SAC's common shares. The family of Samuel Curtis Johnson, founder of S.C. Johnson & Son (of which Diversey was originally a subsidiary) was the primary beneficiary thanks to its 50% interest in Diversey, followed by Clayton Dubilier & Rice with a 46% interest.
Ripe for takeover, Diversey had completed a re-organization early 2010. The company cited a wave of consolidation and globalization among its customers as driving its decision. Although sales had modestly dipped and crested from 2006 through 2010, earnings had plunged into the red in 2007 and 2008, in part due to increasingly heavy restructuring expenses, but substantially recovered in 2010. Among the changes, Diversey reduced its worldwide workforce and exited certain services to health and hospitality customers. The company closed a number of facilities, including one in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, its principal manufacturing site in the US. Diversey moved production to other locations in North America, or contracted out manufacture of certain product lines. Prior to its acquisition, Diversey operated 26 manufacturing facilities in 20 countries. – less