VWR International

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VWR International
Type Public (NASDAQVWR)
Industry Scientific products distributor
Founded 1852
Headquarters Radnor, PA, USA
Key people Manuel Brocke-Benz
President and CEO
Products Chemicals, protective clothing, research equipment, specialized laboratory furniture
Revenue $4.1 billion (2013)
Owners Madison Dearborn Partners
Employees Over 8,000 worldwide
Website www.vwr.com

VWR International is an American company involved in the distribution of research laboratory products, with over 1,200,000 items to more than 250,000 customers in North America and Europe. The U.S. division is headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania. VWR ranked #91 in 2006, and #77 in 2005, in Forbes list of largest American private companies.[1] Suppliers include Applied Scientific, 3B Scientific Duracell, Kimberly-Clark, Bel-Art Products, and Welch Allyn.[2] VWR primarily serves the government, biotechnology, life science, education, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors. In 2010, the company maintained operations in 25 countries and process approximately 50,000 order lines daily from a logistical network, which includes 25 strategically located distribution centers.[3]

History[edit]

VWR was formed in the late 1920s by George Van Waters and Nat Rogers as a small chemical company.[4] Since then, the company evolved to focus on the laboratory market. It also has a presence in the cleanroom, safety, and clinical markets.

VWR owns a group of companies under the unofficial umbrella "VWR Education." These companies include Science Kit and Boreal Laboratories and Edmund Scientific Corporation.[5] In August 1989, VWR purchased Sargent-Welch Scientific Company.[6]

In September, 1995, VWR completed their purchase of Baxter's Industrial division, creating a much larger company. The capital was primarily obtained from Merck KGaA, a German chemical manufacturer (known as EMD Chemicals in the U.S. and Canada) who later purchased VWR and merged them with Merck Eurolab, creating a global laboratory distributor. In 2004, VWR became a limited partnership controlled by investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

In 2007, CD&R sold VWR to another private equity company, Madison Dearborn Partners.

In 2010, VWR moved its world headquarters to Radnor, Pennsylvania.

On June 1, 2011 VWR International acquired BioExpress Corp (formerly ISC BioExpress), raising concerns of monopolization of the laboratory supplies sector along with Thermo Fisher Scientific.[7]

Controversy has arisen about a 2010 decision by VWR to close its unionized Brisbane, CA distribution center, moving operations to a non-unionized Visalia, CA facility.[8][9][10]

On October 2, 2014, VWR's IPO raised $536 million, estimating the value of the company at close to $5 billion.[11]

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