WILMINGTON, DE - General Electric Co.'s GE Specialty Materials completed the acquisition of the water-treatment services business of BetzDearborn from Hercules Inc. for $1.8 billion in cash. Hercules is retaining the BetzDearborn Paper Process Chemicals business, which has been integrated into the company's Pulp and Paper Division.

Hercules, which acquired BetzDearborn in 1998, said proceeds from the sale would be used to reduce debt.