Business

Ecolab to close Swisher’s SouthPark office, affecting 60 employees

Ecolab, the Minnesota company that bought the remaining assets of Charlotte-based Swisher Hygiene last year, is closing the former Swisher office in SouthPark.
Ecolab, the Minnesota company that bought the remaining assets of Charlotte-based Swisher Hygiene last year, is closing the former Swisher office in SouthPark. Swisher

Ecolab, a Minnesota company that owns the former Charlotte-based Swisher Hygiene, is closing the Swisher office in SouthPark and laying off all employees who don’t receive and accept offers to relocate or work remotely.

The move affects 60 workers, St. Paul-based Ecolab said in a notice to the state this week. Under federal law, companies must file Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notices when they undertake mass layoffs, close plants and change ownership.

A provider of janitorial and cleaning-supply services, Swisher had been battling recurring losses and years of allegations of financial wrongdoing before Ecolab bought it last year.

Swisher employees can apply for open positions at any of Ecolab’s domestic locations, said Kari Bjorhus, the company’s vice president of global communications. Ecolab will provide severance packages and outplacement services to those who aren’t hired on.

“It’s all about integrating Swisher Hygiene and our institutional business, looking at the support functions and shared services and figuring out how best to bring the organizations together,” Bjorhus said.

Employees will be impacted in waves concluding by the end of the year, Ecolab said. The first wave begins in May, and by the end of the second quarter, half of all workers will have been affected.

Swisher has at least 50 employees at its locations elsewhere in the U.S., Bjorhus said, and they can also apply to Ecolab.

Ecolab, a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies and services, completed its acquisition of Swisher’s U.S. operations in November in a deal worth $40 million.

Last year, federal prosecutors said Swisher had agreed to accept responsibility and pay a $2 million fine for a long-running scheme to make its financial results appear better than they really were by hiding losses and inflating profits. At least three executives were charged with accounting fraud.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

  Comments