Close Brothers Buys Warwick International

Close Brothers Private Equity has sponsored a Gbp129m management buyout of Warwick International from Sequa Corp. Close Brothers invested Gbp55 million, while RBS led a four-bank leveraged financing syndicate. Warwick International is a UK-based company with two separate businesses: Specialty chemical maker focused on the global laundry detergent market, and a network of niche chemical distributors across Europe and Asia.



Close Brothers Private Equity (CBPE) has maintained its track record of investing in the global chemicals sector with the announcement that it has backed the Gbp129m MBO of Warwick International (Warwick) from its US parent, Sequa Corporation. CBPE has invested Gbp55m in the deal and is acquiring the business alongside the incumbent management team led by CEO, Bob Ellis. 


The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Corporate and Structured Finance team in Manchester led a four bank club which provided the rest of the funding for the deal.  The banking club included Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets, Barclays and HSBC. 


Warwick, which is headquartered in Mostyn, North Wales consists of two separate businesses, a speciality chemical manufacturer focused on the global laundry detergents market and a broad network of niche chemical distributors based across Europe and Asia.


The business which has revenues in excess of ?180m has been developed over the last 10 years by Bob Ellis and his executive team of Steve Williams, Barry Tilby and Doug Lovatt and forms a strong base for a continued expansion strategy both from available organic growth in its core markets and bolt on acquisitions such as the recently announced acquisition of Malaysian distributor, GME. 


Warwick is the global market leader in the manufacture and supply of certain speciality chemicals used by all the leading laundry detergent manufacturers across their suite of high street laundry products. This is a well established market with growth driven by acceptance and adoption of western laundry practices across both Eastern Europe and the Far East.


Warwick follows a long string of previous investments in the chemical sector by CBPE over the last 10 years including Chance & Hunt (acquired from ICI plc), Aroma & Fine Chemicals (acquired from IFF Inc.), Minova International (acquired from BP plc) and BWA Water Additives (acquired from Chemtura Corp.).


Paul Lupton, Head of Corporate Finance for the North at Deloitte, said: “Warwick International attracted a lot of interest from private equity houses and trade buyers. Its selection of Close Brothers Private Equity as a backer is a vote of confidence in the significant experience that the private equity house has in the chemicals industry.”


Mathew Hutchinson from CBPE will be joining the board of Warwick along with Sandy Dobbie who becomes non-executive chairman.