Xylem Inc. (XYL), the water company whose pumps cleared New York tunnels of Hurricane Sandy floodwaters, named Patrick Decker, head of Harsco Corp. (HSC) since 2012, as president and chief executive officer.
Decker, 49, will succeed Steve Loranger, interim CEO at the ITT Corp. spinoff since taking over Sept. 9 when Gretchen McClain resigned. Loranger will remain on the board. Xylem, one of the larger pure-play companies in the $600 billion water industry, was spun off in 2011 while Loranger was ITT chairman.
Decker, who takes on his duties March 17 at Rye Brook, New York-based Xylem, said in an interview that his “passion for water” stems from when he was president of Tyco International Ltd.’s flow-control business, now part of Pentair Ltd. He also worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in finance roles.
Xylem’s CEO termed his new position a “perfect fit given my background” and said in a phone interview he plans to boost value, and that he brings “a message of continuity here, I believe in the strategy laid out” by Loranger.
Decker will be joining a company with a market value of $7.10 billion, more than triple the $1.88 billion at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based Harsco, a provider of industrial services in gas control, rail maintenance, scaffolding and infrastructure.
Xylem also reaffirmed its full-year 2014 guidance outlined a month ago that calls for about $4 billion in revenue and $1.85 to $2 adjusted earnings per share as global water consumption grows twice as fast as the population, according to the company, creating supply and demand imbalances.
Last month Xylem raised its dividend 10 percent and reported fourth-quarter revenue rose 7 percent to a record $1.03 billion on higher industrial and utility demand for its infrastructure and applied water products.
Xylem won a contract in January to supply its Wedeco technology, which disinfects wastewater and inactivates bacteria, parasites and viruses in water, to the largest ultraviolet treatment plant in Spain. That followed an ozone-treatment system contract in September to improve municipal water supplies in the Jinshan district of Shanghai.
Xylem’s shares fell 2.1 percent to $38.51 at 1:40 p.m. New York time on a day world markets slumped on the Russia-Ukraine crisis while Harsco’s stock tumbled as much as 9 percent and traded 6.9 percent lower at $23.40, the biggest drop in a month.
Xylem has advanced 11 percent this year compared with an 0.2 percent decline by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
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