Making news in the hand care segment, GOJO, the maker of Purell hand sanitizers and hand soaps, has recently announced that its business is up for sale. The independent company, founded by Jerry and Goldie Lippman in 1946 in Akron, Ohio, has emerged as a dominant force in the market, thanks to the soaring popularity of its flagship brand Purell. “GOJO sells its products to consumers, but the B2B side represents a larger opportunity,” comments Laura Mahecha, Kline’s Director of I&I Cleaning Products.
During the pandemic, GOJO invested heavily in ramping up production capacity to accommodate the unprecedented surge in demand for hand sanitizers and hand soap. As a result, the company witnessed a phenomenal growth trajectory, with sales skyrocketing from the $350–$400 million range in 2018 to nearly $1 billion annually. However, since the pandemic has subsided, there has been a surplus of hand sanitizers flooding the market, with many nearing or surpassing their expiration dates before they could be sold, which has caused a sudden drop in demand.
GOJO has enlisted the services of JP Morgan to conduct an auction and is reportedly targeting industry players over private equity firms. This move comes at a time when the away-from-home hand care market in the United States is valued at a staggering $2 billion, according to Kline’s Industrial and Institutional Hand Care USA research. “GOJO is the unchallenged market leader, with other industry bigwigs including Ecolab, Henkel (the makers of Dial), SC Johnson Professional, Kimberly Clark, Zep, and Diversey, which are all potential buyers,” states Mahecha.
“Other sizable consumer products companies that could be potential suitors include Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson (which owned the Purell brand for a few years in the early 2000s), and its recent consumer product company spin-off Kenvue, Reckitt, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, and The Clorox Company,” Mahecha adds. As the auction progresses, it will be interesting to see how GOJO’s sale affects the industrial and institutional cleaning products industry and which company emerges as the potential buyer.
The change in GOJO’s ownership is a significant development in the industrial and institutional hand care market, which is currently resetting following the chaotic years of the pandemic with wide fluctuations in demand. Kline’s upcoming Industrial and Institutional Hand Care USA report is based on structured research with hundreds of end users to help understand changes in market trends, opportunities, product and dispenser preferences, as well as consumption patterns for hand soaps, hand sanitizers, and hand cleaning wipes. In addition, Kline’s M&A Consulting service—ranging from candidate screening to due diligence—provides effective, objective, and executable strategies to help you win. Speak to an expert to see how we can assist your business’s growth.