How did you come across the opportunity at Waco?
We're an Asian fund and Waco International generates about 55 percent of its revenues in Australasia, so that's how we got involved. Our sister fund owns Brand Services, which is the largest scaffolding provider in North America, so we had heard of Waco before. Also, the previous owners of Waco were looking to list the company on the South African Stock Exchange while also sounding out interest to buy the company.
Was CCMP Capital Asia the only private equity firm looking at the deal?
I think that there were a few firms showing interest in the deal. The bulk of that interest was international simply because of the size of the company. In addition, some of the Asia-specific funds were looking at Waco because of its large exposure to Australasia.
Were you aware of many other private equity deals that had been done in the region?
Not really. We're very focused on Asia and what got us interested in the company was its large Australasian business activities and the fact that we knew and understood the business model given our experience with Brand Services in the US. As we got to know the company better, we became better acquainted with their South African and UK divisions. Through that process, we became quite excited about the business in South Africa, which has been driven by strong infrastructure investment.
How do you feel about your first deal in South Africa being so high profile?
To be honest, we weren't looking to make a big splash with the deal. We're focused on making money on the investment. But we found a company that is run by a world-class management team and has quite a bit of growth and upside potential in all of the markets in which it operates – that's to say, South Africa, the UK and Australasia. We are big believers in global businesses, but we're also an Asia-focused fund and the company is anchored in Australia.
How involved will CCMP Capital Asia be in Waco's operations going forward?
We have a majority position on the board of Waco, so of course we will be providing guidance. But we bought into the company with the management team – which is a very strong one – so in general we will leave the day-to-day activities to them.
Do you have people on the ground in South Africa?
No, we don't. I think it's a market that is attractive for investors and is growing – and I have no doubt that people will make good money there. But we have no plans for any more deals in South Africa right now.
Which fund did you invest from?
We made our investment in Waco International through our Asia Opportunity Fund II [which closed on €1.3 billion]. We just finished fundraising in November of last year, so this was our first deal from the fund. We've got a healthy pipeline of deals coming up, so watch this space.
It's been about six months since the rebrand – how has that worked out?
It's a new name which people will have to get used to, but in terms of how we operate, there's no change. It's business as usual.