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Warburg Pincus buys cleaning company for £565m

The vendor, CCMP Capital, more than doubled the company’s value in less than four years.

Warburg Pincus, the global private equity firm, has bought Safety Kleen, an industrial cleaning company, from CCMP Capital for £565 million (€715 million; $1.1 billion).

Safety Kleen was bought by CCMP for £273.5 million in 2004 when it was part of the captive arm of JP Morgan. CCMP raised $3.4 billion (€2.2 billion) for its first independent fund last year after it span out from the bank in 2006.

Safety Kleen operates cleaning equipment for more than 100,000 customers which use cars, trucks, engines, or industrial production lines, as well as providing 60,000 customers with non-machine cleaning services. It has 1,400 employees and further financial details were not disclosed.

Peter Wilson, at Warburg Pincus, said the company’s debt had been 100 percent underwritten by RBS, the existing lender to Safety Kleen, although Warburg Pincus had been contacted by several interested lenders. “The appetite of lenders to the business is a testament to its growth in recent years,” he said. The willingness of RBS to wholly underwrite the deal is in contrast to many other smaller recent deals, where banking syndicates have provided financing due to lenders’ aversion to risk.

Wilson said Warburg Pincus would look to increase the business’ services in Western Europe as well as looking to expand the company further into emerging markets. The business has already opened in countries like Brazil and China.

The business is the second European investment from Warburg Pincus’ $15 billion fund, which held its final close this month.