Hercules to sell water to GE for $1.8 billion

Hercules has entered into an agreement to sell the water treatment business of its BetzDearborn division to GE Specialty Materials.

Hercules Incorporated has entered into an agreement to sell the water treatment business of its BetzDearborn division to GE Specialty Materials, a unit of the General Electric Company.

The paper process chemicals business, approximately one-third of the BetzDearborn company purchased by Hercules in 1998, will remain with Hercules. In addition, Hercules will have an agreement with GE to distribute and service BetzDearborn’s water treatment products to the pulp and paper industry.

The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals, and is expected to close in spring 2002. The purchase price is $1.8 billion in cash, with net after tax proceeds available for debt reduction of approximately $1.665 billion.

Since January 2001, from this and other transactions, Hercules will have received net proceeds of approximately $2 billion enabling it to reduce debt. Hercules will now focus on the future of its remaining businesses. These include Aqualon, Pulp and Paper (including the retained BetzDearborn Paper Process chemical products acquired in 1998), FiberVisions, and Rosins and Terpenes.