Ecolab, Pentair Among “World’s Most Innovative Companies”

Ecolab, Pentair, and Coloplast, whose U.S. headquarters is in Minneapolis, made the cut.
Ecolab, Pentair Among “World’s Most Innovative Companies”

Three companies with major Minnesota footprints made Forbes’ recently published list of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies.”

St. Paul-based Ecolab, Inc., ranked 33rd, up from the 31st spot in 2012. With annual sales of $11.8 billion, the company develops and markets products and services for the hospitality, foodservice, health care, and industrial markets, including cleaning and sanitizing products.

Meanwhile, Coloplast, a Denmark-based medical device company whose U.S. headquarters are in Minneapolis, earned the 12th spot. Coloplast makes products for ostomy, urology, and continence care. With sales of about $1.9 billion, it operates in more than 65 countries.

Pentair, Ltd. came in at 96th. The company—which makes valves, filters, and pumps for the energy industry—merged with a division of Switzerland-based Tyco International in a $5.3 billion deal last year. Pentair maintains its primary operations in Golden Valley. (Tyco also made Forbes’ list, coming in at 69th.)

For its latest list, Forbes conducted research on companies worldwide and let investors “vote with their wallets.” Companies are ranked based on “innovative premium”—which is calculated by taking a company’s market capitalization and subtracting the net present value of cash flows from existing businesses. It is meant to reflect the companies’ ability to produce profitable new growth and innovation both now and in the future. (See the full methodology here.)

To be considered, firms needed seven years of public financial data and $10 billion in market capitalization. Due to a threshold for R&D spending as a percentage of sales, banks were excluded. Energy and mining firms, whose market value can be seen as more of an indicator of commodity prices than innovation, were also cast aside.

Since the list’s 2011 inception, San Francisco-based cloud computing platform Salesforce has held the first place spot, due in part to founder Marc Benioff’s emphasis on building a culture of innovation, according to Forbes.

More than half of the companies on the list have headquarters outside the United States; 11 are in Japan, while Germany, China, and the United Kingdom each claim five.

See the full list here.