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Nicollin Group heads east with the acquisition of Caronet

Spécialistes de la propreté

The cleaning and network management specialist has just acquired Caronet, a cleaning company based in Lorraine. With this operation, the Nicollin Group continues its strategic and geographical diversification. Experts from AURIS Finance, a consulting firm specialising in mergers and acquisitions, analyse this new move on the market.

Nicollin is the third largest waste management company in France, with 8,500 employees and a turnover of €550 million in 2022. Originaly from the Rhône region, this medium-sized company is a family business founded in 1945 by Marcel Nicollin. Initially a small coal trading company, the group quickly moved into cleaning and household waste collection. Over the years, the company expanded its network in France, winning public contracts in the cities of Royan, Limoges and Marseille in the 1960s. In the early 1970s, the group established itself in the city of Montpellier, before being awarded a public contract in the city of Versailles in 1974.

Strategic and territorial diversification

This was its very first foray into the Ile-de-France region, notably driven by Louis Nicollin, who managed the company until 2017. Under his leadership, the group flourished and took on a national dimension. Although growth was mainly driven by internal development, a few major acquisitions enabled Nicollin to position itself on new markets. The purchase of industrial cleaning specialist Sud Services at the end of the 1980s was a case in point. Diversification accelerated and was strengthened in the 1990s with the creation of sorting centres. Since then, the group has positioned itself along the entire waste processing chain: urban cleaning, collection, transport, transfer, sorting, trade in materials and storage of non-hazardous waste.

A medium-sized family business

While the company had previously developed through internal growth, the third generation (Olivier and Laurent Nicollin), who have been on board alone since 2017, are accelerating external growth operations. In February 2022, Nicollin thus took over two waste collection centres for professionals. Acquired from the giant Véolia in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, this acquisition strengthens the Group’s waste collection division. The acquisition of Caronet, completed in February 2023, is part of the diversification of the Group’s activities. The company employs 550 people at its three sites in Alsace and Lorraine, and had a turnover of €8 million in 2022. With this acquisition, Nicollin has established a presence in eastern France, a region in which the Group was not previously active. The company is also stepping up its diversification by taking over a major player in industrial cleaning, security and reception services. 140 million of the Group’s 550 million turnover currently comes from its services activities. The two brothers are also continuing their father’s strategy of independence by buying back in 2020 the 16% of shares held by four investors since 2013. This means that 100% of the company’s capital is now back in the family’s hands.

AURIS Finance experts at your side

Family businesses have specific needs. Nicollin’s story shows the potential for growth that a controlled strategy of financing and diversification can offer. AURIS Finance has a team of experts dedicated to the waste management sector. Whether you need to sell, find a target company, or secure funding, our specialists are on hand to help you.

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