Ecolab Connects the Dots with Its Catalog Acquisition

A $3.8 billion manufacturer/marketer of commercial sanitation and cleaning supplies, Ecolab had a direct sales force of nearly 12,000 reps in 70 countries. But the St. Paul, MN-based company didn’t have a catalog — until February, when it acquired Daydots, a $22 million manufacturer/marketer of food-safety products based in Fort Worth, TX.

“Ecolab is trying to offer a wide and increasing variety of products and services for its customer base,” says Michael Monahan, vice president for external affairs. Daydots’ line, which includes food-rotation labels and food-handling bags, will appeal to Ecolab’s restaurant and hospitality customers, which include McDonald’s Corp. and Marriott.

“They do business with virtually every [restaurant] chain in the U.S.,” says Daydots president Mike Milliorn. He notes that the two companies have been discussing a partnership for years. “It was just a good fit, both of us being in different ends of the same market. It gives us a lot of opportunity to grow our company and promote our brand.”

Ecolab has no plans to alter the Daydots catalog or Website in any way, says Monahan. “Our intention is to learn from them and explore any opportunity to improve on the business they’ve got.”

Nor does Ecolab intend to use its acquisition of Daydots as a platform for starting its own catalog. Ecolab products will not appear in the Daydots catalog any time soon, and Daydots products will not be sold by Ecolab salespeople.

Monahan says that Ecolab has a record of allowing the companies it acquires to continue operating independently. The company’s other recent acquisitions include French extermination services provider Nigiko, U.K. hospital hygiene products supplier Adams Healthcar, and British exterminator Terminix Ltd.

“Everything that I’ve heard is that they’d like to keep the brands distinct,” says Milliorn. “We’re both in the same industry, but offering different kinds of products to our customers, so they want to keep the entities separate for now.” He adds that the acquisition will be “invisible” to Daydots’ customers.

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