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Tennant Abandons ec-H20 Advertising Claims; Still No Reliable Scientific Evidence that ec-H20 Cleans Better than Plain Tap Water
Plymouth, MN—March 29, 2012—Nilfisk-Advance, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of professional floor cleaning equipment, today announced that ongoing efforts to expose Tennant’s misleading advertising claims regarding the performance of its ec-H20 technology have resulted in Tennant’s abandonment of those claims.
Upon launch of its ec-H20 technology, Tennant for years widely boasted on its website and in its marketing materials that “ec-H20 converts water into a powerful detergent.” Following the public disclosure of extensive third-party scientific testing that concluded ec-H20 performs no better than plain tap water, Tennant modified its advertising claim to “ec-H20 converts water into a superior cleaning solution.” Recently, Tennant has even abandoned that claim, and no longer asserts in its advertising that ec-H20 is a “powerful” or “superior” cleaning solution. Tennant has not produced any reliable and independent scientific evidence that proves that its ec-H20 technology cleans floor surfaces better than plain tap water, or as well as chemical detergents.
While industry critique of Tennant’s false claims first publicly surfaced when Nilfisk-Advance announced the results of independent testing in November 2010, the results of additional independent tests were announced in December 2010, and March 2011.
Other industry players also questioned the veracity of Tennant’s claims, including industry leaders Diversey and Karcher. Karcher, a German company, has also brought legal action in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom against Tennant alleging misleading advertising. Those proceedings are pending, and a decision in the German case is expected in late April 2012.
“We are pleased to see that efforts to reveal the truth about the comparative cleaning performance of ec-H20 and its environmental benefits has led to Tennant’s withdrawal of unsubstantiated and misleading advertising claims,” said Christian Cornelius-Knudsen, President and CEO, Nilfisk-Advance Americas. “The integrity of the industry must always rest on sound science. Our customers and our industry deserve to know the truth, and when revealed, we believe customers understand there are many effective options for meeting their ‘green cleaning’ needs other than reliance on unsubstantiated advertising claims.”
Electrically activated or not, water is and always has been, an effective cleanser on a variety of floor conditions. Floor scrubbers are routinely used with plain tap water and can effectively clean a range of soiled floors. Some floor conditions, however, do require the use of detergents when deeper cleaning is necessary.
“What the science makes clear is that if customers are paying a premium for ec-H20 technology, they are paying for the same cleaning performance as plain tap water,” said Cornelius-Knudsen.
Among other claims that Tennant has now abandoned are: “Tennant ec-H20 can reduce floor cleaning costs by up to 100%” and “Tennant ec-H20 is proven to reduce environmental impact by 98%.” It is anticipated that Tennant will soon abandon the additional claim that “Independent studies show that ec-H20 out performs most conventional chemicals.”
Tennant has even represented to its investors that “ec-H2O technology is an environmentally friendly process that converts plain tap water into a powerful cleaning agent without any added chemicals,” and has repeatedly touted to investors that ec-H2O is one of, if not the, major contributor to its earnings growth. Tennant has represented that ec-H20 will continue to provide it market share advantage in the future because it is highly differentiated from competitors’ products. Tennant’s annual and quarterly earnings reports have credited ec-H2O sales as the major contributor to equipment sales, organic sales, and revenue increases. In its latest earning report issued February 21, 2012, Tennant’s states that “ec-H2O sales were a key contributor to revenue increase for the 2011 full year versus 2010.”
Now, Tennant has abandoned many of its ec-H20 performance claims, including environmental claims. “Nilfisk-Advance concurs with Tennant’s explanation that it has abandoned these ec-H20 advertising claims because they had ‘run their course’; the marketplace clearly no longer would tolerate Tennant’s misleading and unsubstantiated claims,” said Jorgen Jensen, CEO Nilfisk-Advance. “We expect that the investor community will likewise take notice.”
Nilfisk-Advance is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of professional cleaning equipment. Nilfisk-Advance has production facilities in North America, South America, Europe, and China, and has an extensive network of sales entities in 43 countries and is represented in more than 100 countries around the world. The company currently has over 5,000 employees worldwide, and in 2011 had its best sales and earnings performance in its 105 year history, with over $1.1 Billion USD in global sales. Nilfisk-Advance is a part of the NKT Group listed at NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen.
About EcoFlex™ System
Nilfisk-Advance’s EcoFlex™ System, introduced in 2009, is a new cleaning technology that achieves both environmentally sustainable cleaning methods as well as the highest standards of effective cleaning. With the touch of a button, EcoFlex allows the operator to effortlessly switch between chemical-free, water-only cleaning and varying degrees of detergent use, down pressure and flow rates. EcoFlex combines effective, efficient and sustainable methods to set the new standard in green cleaning. EcoFlex is currently available on ten Advance brand floor scrubber models and will continue to be available on additional models throughout 2011.