The PhenePlate (PhP) biochemical fingerprinting system is an automated method for typing of bacteria, based on the evaluation of the kinetics of biochemical reactions, performed in microtitre plates. In the present study the PhP-Klebsiella/Enterobacter (KE) system was evaluated for typing of Enterobacter cloacae and employed to study the epidemiology of faecal E. cloacae strains isolated from infants in 22 Swedish neonatal wards. The PhP-KE system showed a high reproducibility and discrimination for E. cloacae isolates. Among 64 epidemiologically unrelated E. cloacae strains, 49 distinct phenotypes were found, and the diversity index was 0·985. E. cloacae was found as a part of the dominating Gram-negative aerobic bacterial flora in 83 out of 953 infants studied. The incidences of E. cloacae colonization varied between 0 and 35% in different wards, but in contrast to previous data for Klebsiella spp. and Escherichia coli, there was little evidence of spread of particular strains in the wards. We also discuss two different measures of nosocomial transmission of bacterial strains: transmissible strains and epidemic index.