GE Water Sale: Back to The Future
By Mike Henley
The late October news of General Electric Co.’s plan to sell its water businesses brings to mind developments in the 1990s and the start of this century that have led the greater water business to where it is today. So, it seems like an appropriate time to go back and revisit some of those developments. In building the business five companies were joined together to form what we know today as GE Water.
So, before jumping into the future, it seems appropriate to briefly look back to those companies that in their day each played important roles in the water business.
Long-time water industry observers recall the 1990s as a time of consolidation when many smaller players were acquired to form larger water businesses. The first major player was USFilter, which parlayed its purchases to knit together what is today known as Evoqua Water Technologies.
As USFilter was the principal buyer in the 1990s, GE took on a similar role after 2000.
GE entered the water business in 1999 when it bought 82% of Glegg Industries Inc. That move launched the new GE Water, and from the start it included a role in the high-purity water business where Glegg supplied treatment systems for power plants and microelectronics fabs. Besides ion exchange and RO systems, Glegg’s offerings also included the recently introduced E-Cell electrodeionization (EDI) technology...
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