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ACON Investments Acquires Colombia’s Grupo Sala

14 July 2011

(ACON Investments)  July 14, 2011 – ACON Latin America Opportunities Fund (“ALAOF”), a private equity investment fund affiliated with ACON Investments LLC, (“ACON”), announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Aseo Urbano S.A. (“Grupo SALA” or the “Company”).  ACON acquired Grupo SALA in partnership with Humberto Rodriguez Cobo, the Founder and CEO of Grupo SALA, from Urbaser of Spain, one of the largest waste management companies in the world, and Raygar International, a private U.S. holding company.

Grupo SALA is one of the leading waste management companies in Colombia serving 650,000 municipal customers across 11 cities including Cartagena, Cali, Cucuta and Manizales, among others.   The Company is also a pioneer in Colombia in industrial and medical waste treatment and disposal services.  Through its state-of-art facilities in Barranquilla, Bogota and Cali, Grupo SALA is the only company in Colombia capable of providing foreign and domestic corporations with incineration services and security landfills that meet both domestic and international environmental standards.  As part of its acquisition, ACON will fund additional capital into Grupo SALA to further develop its industrial waste business and to potentially develop its urban waste management business in Bogota, Colombia’s largest city, if the Company is awarded one or more of the six concessions being auctioned in the months ahead. 

“We look forward to partnering with Humberto Rodriguez and the Grupo SALA management team to provide urban and industrial waste management services in Colombia that meet the highest standards for service, efficiency and protection of the environment,” said Jose Miguel Knoell, a Partner at ACON. “With the recent passage of more stringent regulations in Colombia and an increased focus by manufacturers on meeting international environmental guidelines, we believe Grupo SALA is uniquely positioned to lead the development of the industrial waste industry in Colombia.”

“This investment by ACON represents an important milestone for Grupo SALA and its employees as we seek to grow and upgrade the quality of waste management solutions we offer customers in Colombia,” said Mr. Rodriguez, who has noted increased demand for Grupo SALA’s incineration and security cell services.  “As a committed long-term investor with over a decade of experience investing in Colombia, we believe ACON is an ideal partner as we seek to expand our urban waste, industrial waste and municipal water businesses throughout the country.”

ACON was one of the earliest private equity firms to invest in Colombia, starting with its investment in the regional retailer Almacenes Vivero in 1998 followed by its acquisition of Bogota supermarket chain Carulla y Cia in 1999.  These two companies were merged in 2000 to form Carulla Vivero, one of the largest and most profitable supermarket retailers in Colombia. Carulla Vivero was sold to Almacenes Exito in 2007.  In 2010, ACON led an investment in Credivalores-Crediservicios S.A.S (“Credivalores”), the largest non-bank consumer lender in Colombia with assets in excess of $300 million.

Grupo SALA is the third investment completed by ALAOF, which had a final close in February of this year.   In addition to its investment in Credivalores, in October 2010, the Fund completed an investment in Invercap, a financial services group that owns and operates one of the leading private pension fund managers in Mexico.  As part of its investment strategy, ALAOF is actively seeking to complete additional investments throughout Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Brazil.

ACON Investments
Founded in 1996, ACON Investments is a private equity investment firm focused on the United States and Latin America that has managed over $2.0 billion of capital through various funds.  ALAOF is ACON’s third private equity fund focused on Latin America. The Fund invests throughout the region with a focus on industries or companies at key inflection points in their development and pursues these opportunities in close partnership with established management teams.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ACON has offices and investment professionals throughout the Americas including Mexico City and Sao Paulo as well as in Madrid, Spain.