Business / Corporate

Kao buys U.S. detergent-maker Washing Systems in bid to enter North American laundry business

KYODO

Consumer products firm Kao Corp. said Friday it has acquired U.S. detergent-maker Washing Systems LLC to strengthen its business in the growing North American commercial laundry market.

The acquisition price was not disclosed but Kao appears to have purchased the Ohio-based company from Gryphon Investors for several tens of billions of yen, a source close to the matter said.

The acquisition comes as Kao is pushing to expand its mainstay chemical business overseas following the purchase of U.S. luxury brand Oribe Hair Care LLC in 2017 and major U.S. and Spanish ink manufacturers Collins Inkjet and Chimigraf Holding SL in 2016.

Washing Systems President John Walroth will continue to lead the company, and the current management team will continue to lead the day-to-day business, the U.S. firm said.

Established in 1989, Washing Systems develops and sells detergent for laundry companies mainly in North America and has a reputation for eco-friendly products, Kao said.