In a development that is likely to shake the foundations of the sanitary supply industry, Nilfisk-Advance, an international manufacturer of floor and carpet care equipment, recently announced the acquisition of ALTO, also an international manufacturer of floor and carpet care equipment, as well as a major competitor.

The transaction, effective April 30, is still subject to approval by the competition authorities in several countries. However, approval is expected to be in place by June 30, according to Nilfisk-Advance representatives.

The merger creates a supplier of professional cleaning equipment with widespread influence.

“The integration of the activities of Nilfisk-Advance and ALTO creates the world’s leading supplier of professional cleaning equipment,” said a recent press release.

The merging of the two companies allows them to leverage complementary product focuses. Traditionally, the product focus of Nilfisk-Advance has been on floor care machines and vacuums, while ALTO has concentrated on floor care machines and pressure washers.

Johan Molin of Nilfisk-Advance has been appointed president and CEO of the new Nilfisk-Advance/ALTO organization. The future executive board will be established when the approval of the competition authorities has been obtained and the transaction is finalized.


G-P Set to Increase U.S. Linerboard Prices
Georgia-Pacific Corp., Atlanta, a major manufacturer of paper products for the jan/san industry, is planning a price increase on its linerboard and corrugating medium in the United States for June 1, according to some G-P distributors.

IP Announces Earnings Growth
International Paper, Stamford, Conn., recently reported first-quarter 2004 net earnings of $73 million (15 cents per share), compared with $44 million (9 cents per share) in the first quarter of 2003 and $48 million (10 cents per share) in the fourth quarter of 2003.

BSCAI and BOMA International Join Forces
Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) recently entered a cooperative agreement with Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International.

The two organizations agreed to exhibit at each other’s annual conventions, share editorial between their association publications, and perform joint studies of relevance to the facilities management industries.

U.S. Green Building Council Chooses Denver
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced its decision to hold the organization’s 2006 Greenbuild Convention in Denver. The USGBC, which works toward sustainable design and maintenance for facilities, is expecting close to 8,000 people to attend the convention.

JohnsonDiversey to Transfer All Customer-Service Operations to Wisconsin
JohnsonDiversey, Sturtevant, Wis., recently announced its plans to consolidate customer services for its North American group by moving 80 employees to its national headquarters in Wisconsin.

The employees will be transferred from Michigan, Ohio and Massachusetts, according to company representatives.

Cascades Passes Third-Party Inspection, ‘Green’ Evaluation
Cascades Tissue Group, Candiac, Quebec, was recently the first jan/san paper manufacturer to pass third-party inspection conducted by the Chlorine Free Products Association (CFPA), according to Archie Beaton, president of the association.

The evaluation provides new standards for sustainability among tissue and towel manufacturers throughout North America.


Nichols Paper & Supply, Muskegon, Mich., a 68-year-old jan/san distributor, recently announced the acquisition of Priority Services LLC, a provider of jan/san services and parts for sanitary maintenance equipment. Prior to the acquisition, Priority Services served the western and southwestern regions of Michigan.

Prophet 21, Yardley, Pa., a technology provider for jan/san distributors, recently announced the acquisition of Distributor Information Systems Corp., Farmington, Conn., a provider of enterprise software solutions for fluid power distributors.

Ecolab, St. Paul, Minn., recently announced that it has formally entered a merger agreement with Alcide Corp., Redmond, Wash. Alcide is jan/san manufacturer of organic cleaning solutions, primarily for the foodservice industries.

DOL Revises Rules Governing Overtime Pay

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Washington, recently announced that it is has revised worker overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new rules go into effect August 23, and the DOL is preparing to launch a task force that will enforce the new regulations throughout the United States.

“The final overtime regulations make a number of changes to the way in which employers will apply FLSA tests for the purpose of determining employees’ exempt or non-exempt status,” said a press release from Bill Balek, legislative director for the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA).

The result of the new regulations is that more employees will qualify for overtime compensation, said the Bush administration in late April.

Work environments have changed since the 1950s — the last time FLSA regulations were revised — so it was time to address those changes as they apply to the FLSA and to overtime pay, said Balek.

“The definitions and jobs have changed substantially over the years. You can’t take a 50-year-old template and just keep overlaying it with new terminology,” he said.

Balek highlighted some of the most significant adjustments to affect jan/san distributors:

  • Under the final rule, all employees making below $23,660, or $455 per week, automatically qualify for overtime pay, no matter what their duties consist of.

  • Highly compensated employees who earn $100,000 per year or more are exempt from the overtime requirements.
    For a more detailed analysis of changes to the FLSA, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.