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Tennant Sued in Europe by Kaercher Over ‘Active Water’ Ads

Tennant Co., a Minneapolis-based cleaning solutions manufacturer, was sued in three countries by German competitor Alfred Kaercher GmbH over advertising claims for floor scrubbers.

Complaints were filed in Belgium, Germany, and the U.K., over claims in Tennant’s advertising that its machines convert tap water into “active water” giving it the same power as a cleaning agent, Kaercher said in a statement.

“Tennant’s claims are misleading and totally untenable scientifically,” Kaercher Chief Executive Officer Hartmut Jenner said. Tennant “is making a promise to customers that it cannot possibly fulfill.”

Scrubber-driers are cleaning machines for wet cleaning of hard floors, combining spreading the cleaning fluid, scrubbing the floor and vacuuming waste water. In 2010, Kaercher reported revenue of more than 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) and sold more than 7.3 million pieces of equipment, the company said.

A person picking up the phone at Tennant’s German unit declined to comment. Tennant didn’t immediately reply to a call to its Antwerp office.

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