During TDR’s ownership International Car Wash Group (“ICWG”) (until March 2017 known as IMO Car Wash Group) further cemented its position as the world’s largest independent conveyor car wash operator. At the time of TDR’s exit, it had over 900 sites spanning 14 countries, with 320 sites in Germany, 260 sites in the UK, over 100 sites in the US and the remainder spread across Europe and Australia. IMO washes 35 million cars a year.
Caring for the environment was high on the agenda for ICWG. By recycling at least 75% of its water, using only chemicals that are biodegradable and removing all harmful deposits from wastewater before disposing of them through environmentally approved contractors, ICWG is the most environmentally friendly way to clean your car.
We began following ICWG in 2008. During the subsequent years, we spent a significant amount of time getting to know the management team, monitoring the business, understanding the wider market and developing our investment thesis.
As a result of our relationship with management, our insight into the business and our experience owning multi-site, consumer-facing businesses, we were able to position ourselves as a credible buyer that could deliver a quick transaction for the vendors. These bilateral negotiations resulted in the acquisition of ICWG in July 2014.
We were attracted to the investment by the stability of the business, strong cash flow conversion and the opportunity for re-investing cashflows into new site opportunities and accretive M&A in the fragmented US market.
What we did
We entered the US market by launching a consolidation strategy, focused exclusively on sites with automated conveyors in regions with a high number of washdays, all benefiting from the world’s largest car parc. During TDR’s ownership, ICWG completed 12 acquisitions in the US, significantly growing the scale and revenues of the group.
We also launched a refurbishment and newbuild programme in order to refresh the existing estate in Europe, opening over 50 new sites as well as refurbishing close to 200 existing sites and delivering a strong uplift on earnings.
How we exited
In October 2017, following a competitive sale process, we completed the sale of ICWG to Roark Capital.