It wasn't a purely positive or negative quarter for water and air purification company Calgon Carbon
On the plus side, the company ended a long, drawn-out legal dispute with Danaher
Another big win for the company was the passage of antidumping tariffs on Chinese-activated carbon. This material, used in applications ranging from poison control to gas masks, is Calgon's core product, and the company has been suffering margin declines for years. At least some of that pressure has come from cheap Chinese imports. The recently imposed duties run as high as 228.1%, so it seems like great news for Calgon, if not for activated carbon end users. The flip side here, of course, is that this market intervention indicates that the company's commodity business may not be sustainable in the long run without political support.
There very well may be a bright future for Calgon in the increasingly attractive global water infrastructure space. The company's best shot might be to take a cue from General Electric
Even if Calgon does manage to reinvent itself, it's a very small player compared to international giants Suez
Disagree with me? Sound off in Motley Fool CAPS! Calgon only sports 37 ratings at present, so go ahead and make your opinion known.
Fool contributor Toby Shute is currently ranked 1,256 out of over 29,000 CAPS players. He doesn't own shares in any company mentioned. Suez is a Global Gains selection. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.