Continuing the acquisition saga that the industry has seen for the past decade, Kinetico Incorporated was acquired by Axel Johnson, Inc. WC&P reported on the founding of the firm back in 1970 when Jim Kewley and Bill Prior began the company. Here is the complete announcement of the sale.

Stamford, CT, April 20, 2006—Axel Johnson Inc., the North American operating arm of the Sweden-based Axel Johnson Group, announced today that it will acquire Kinetico Incorporated, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential, commercial, industrial and municipal water treatment systems. Axel Johnson is a private company with interests in the energy and environmental sectors. Kinetico will become part of the company’s AxWater Group, where it joins Parkson Corporation, a leading supplier of water and wastewater treatment systems for municipal and industrial applications.

“We believe that acquiring and developing a group of businesses focused on improving access to clean, safe water represents both an attractive long-term investment and the opportunity to make a meaningful social contribution,” says Michael D. Milligan, president and chief executive officer of Axel Johnson Inc. “We have been looking for some time for a company that could add dimension and scale to our AxWater Group. In Kinetico, we have found an excellent match—in culture and values as well as long-term vision for the business. We believe the potential for Kinetico is tremendous.

“Kinetico will join Axel Johnson as a stand-alone company; our plans are to maintain and build on Kinetico’s operations from its existing campus in Northeast Ohio. We are prepared to support current management as they work to achieve our shared vision for the company, and to offer the entire Kinetico team the opportunity to help shape and build a broader Axel Johnson endeavor across the water industry,” Milligan adds.
“Kinetico is honored to be invited to join the Axel Johnson Group,” says William Prior, founder of Kinetico Incorporated. “In the current environment of quick-turn mergers and acquisitions, we are thrilled that the owner of Axel Johnson, Antonia Ax:son Johnson, is one who seeks long-term ownership of businesses. Beyond attractive earnings potential, Antonia is concerned with owning and building organizations that reflect her and her family’s values. One of those values is to ensure the availability of clean, safe drinking water to people around the world; the acquisition of Kinetico certainly fits.

“The people of Kinetico are excited that this acquisition will provide broad support for our dreams and global plans to grow our distribution from our existing platform. At the same time, it will respect our hard-won culture, build on our strong independent dealer network and retain the Kinetico organization as it exists,” he states.

Axel Johnson Inc., located in Stamford, CT, is a private company with interests in the energy and environmental sectors. As a legally and financially independent member of the Axel Johnson Group, wholly owned by Antonia Ax:son Johnson of Stockholm, it shares an extensive business network with group activities throughout the European Union and in Asia. In the United States, Axel Johnson Inc. has been active in the water industry since 1971 through Parkson Corporation.

In 2000, the company formed the AxWater Group to pursue the Johnson family’s long-standing commitment to bringing clean, safe water to individuals and communities around the world. The family is driven by a belief that access to clean, safe water should be a universal birthright of all people. The AxWater Group is therefore chartered to align itself with and support businesses, individuals and organizations that promote research and development of innovative water-related products and services in water resource management. There is particular interest in areas that may lead to breakthrough improvements in water resource management, re-use and recycling.

In the energy sector, the company operates through Sprague Energy, the leading independent supplier of energy products and related services in the Northeast. Further information regarding Axel Johnson Inc. is available at

Kinetico Incorporated, headquartered in Newbury, Ohio, is a leading manufacturer of water treatment systems. An extensive network of Kinetico dealers serving residential and light commercial customers has helped more than a million people in nearly 100 countries experience the benefits of better water. Industrial customers utilize Kinetico’s patented technology for water recycling, hazardous waste minimization, metals recovery and high purity water production. Kinetico also applies proprietary filtration technology to municipal water treatment systems. Since 1970, Kinetico has prided itself on creating unique water treatment systems that serve customers in an expanding variety of residential, commercial, industrial and municipal applications. The company also has offices and facilities in the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Denmark. Further information is available at

Kinetico was advised by Chicago-based William Blair and Company in the transaction, the terms of which are not being disclosed.



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