TOKYO and LOVELAND, Ohio — Kao Corp., a provider of cleaning applications and hygiene management based in Tokyo, says it has acquired Washing Systems LLC (WSI), a provider of wash processing, wastewater treatment and technical services to the commercial laundry industry. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
According to Ohio-based WSI, President John Walroth will assume the role of CEO and the current WSI management team will continue to lead the day-to-day business.
“This is a great time for WSI,” Walroth says. “We are excited to have the resources and long-term support from such a successful global company as Kao. Our people are especially excited to partner with such a company that shares our philosophy of investing in product innovation and exceptional customer service.
“We will now have the ability to take advantage of both longer-term planning and strategic investments, and this ultimately provides us a great opportunity to even better support our customers.”
WSI, which provides its products and services to the North American and European commercial laundry markets, was previously owned by San Francisco-based private equity firm Gryphon Investors.
As a result of this acquisition, Kao Corp., which provides its products globally through 20 brands, says it will be expanding its chemical solution business for commercial laundry.
“We are extremely excited to partner with WSI, the clear leader in its market,” says Shigeru Ueyama, managing executive officer at Kao. “WSI’s long history of innovation, responsiveness to customer needs and focus on environmental sustainability aligns extremely well with Kao’s philosophy. We look forward to supporting WSI’s leadership in maintaining the highest levels of service and continued product innovation to WSI’s customers.”