Canadian Consulting Engineer

Water treatment leader bought by General Electric

Perhaps the world's leading company in manufacturing ultrafiltration and advanced membrane technologies for treatin...

March 22, 2006   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Perhaps the world’s leading company in manufacturing ultrafiltration and advanced membrane technologies for treating water and wastewater, Zenon Environmental of Oakville, Ontario, is being bought by General Electric.<br>
GE, the world’s second largest company by market value, agreed to buy Zenon for $760 million in early March. <br>
Zenon has been around for 26 years after its founder, a McMaster University professor and chemical engineer left his tenured position to begin the company. Andrew Benedek was only 36 years old at the time he started the company in his home.<br>
Since then Zenon’s hollow-fibre technologies and membrane bioreactors have grown in popularity with municipalities needing to upgrade their water and wastewater treatment plants. Their growth has been the result of traditional chemical treatments such as chlorine falling into disfavour because the public fears their health effects.<br>
GE’s Water & Process Technologies division is the unit involved in Zenon’s acquisition. Its most recent technological advances include work in desalination. <br>
By acquiring Zenon, GE is believed to have its eyes on the global water market, which is expected to balloon in the next decades thanks to severe shortages in countries like Africa and industrial growth in China and India. In the immediate future GE is forecasting growth in the municipal water segment at more than 30 per cent.<br>
Zenon has 1,400 employees and has been listed as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the last six years. <br>
GE has 15 manufacturing facilities and more than 9,500 employees in Canada. <br>
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