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Limited choices to invest in water monitoring equipment [ClearOnMoney]
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Limited choices to invest in water monitoring equipment

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Commentary

Limited choices to invest in water monitoring equipment

17 Jan 2013 by Jim Fickett.

Because the world is getting more crowded, and water resources are finite, it is increasingly the case that the water we drink or put on our crops was in the waste stream of other users not too long ago. Hence monitoring various unhealthy contaminants of water is likely to increase, and making equipment for such monitoring is likely to be a growing business.

To get some idea of investment possibilities, I

  1. searched directly for water monitoring and analysis equipment
  2. looked at the inventory of businesses that rent such equipment, and state agencies that loan such equipment
  3. looked up the sponsors of some water quality meetings
  4. searched for competitors of businesses found by the first three searches

There may well be some smaller companies that I've not found, but I think this search probably at least found all the larger international sources for water monitoring equipment. The majority of the companies found were privately held, but there are three public options of possible interest.

The first is Horiba, a Japanese company that started out making pH meters in the 1940s, and now makes a large selection of analytical equipment. Water analysis is by no means all they do, but it is one major focus area.

The second is Xylem, Inc. The short history is that ITT swallowed up most of the small companies making water monitoring or purification equipment, and then spun out a new conglomerate Xylem as a separate water business. Xylem has the advantage that it is purely a water play, and that many of the businesses that were lumped together into Xylem were highly regarded. The big disadvantage with Xylem is that, since many of the acquisitions were relatively recent, and Xylem has only been a standalone company for a little over a year, it has no track record.

The third is Thermo Scientific. Thermo makes all sorts of lab equipment. Water monitoring is a relatively small part of the business. So it would probably be wrong to consider Thermo a water play; however water monitoring might provide a tailwind for an otherwise interesting business.

As far as I can see, those are the choices.