IMO Car Wash sold for pounds 138m

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The Independent Online
IMO CAR Wash Group, one of the fastest growing in Europe with operations in seven countries, has been the subject of a pounds 138m buyout organised by NatWest Equity Partners, writes John Willcock.

The group, founded in the late 1960s in Germany, uses "conveyor chain" technology that it claims is faster than the "rollover" car-wash equipment that dominates the UK.

Christopher McCann of NatWest Equity Partners said the family that owned IMO had been guaranteed "complete anonymity" by NatWest concerning the deal. It is understood the family received less than pounds 100m of the proceeds.

IMO has over 430 sites in Europe, including 225 in the UK by the end of this month. The company had only 100 full-time employees around Europe: the car washes are operated by self-employed associates.

Existing management will hold 20 per cent of the new business, to be owned via a fund set up by NatWest. The bank and institutions will own the rest.