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Onet takes over ISS in France


Consolidation in the cleaning sector continues. At the end of December, French market leader Onet confirmed that it had entered into an agreement to acquire ISS’s cleaning, facilities management and logistics activities in France. The experts at AURIS Finance, a consultancy specialising in mergers and acquisitions, take you behind the scenes of this transaction.

Onet is now number one in France in the ranking of cleaning companies compiled by Services, the hygiene, cleaning and multiservice magazine. In this market segment, the Marseille-based group had a turnover of €1.099 billion for 2022, with 20,000 full-time equivalents. More broadly, the Onet group, which operates globally in the business services sector: concierge services, reception, small-scale handling, fleet cleaning, archive management, etc., had a total turnover of €1.9 billion in 2022 and employed 66,000 people.

Onet is now looking to take on a competitor that is losing ground in France. ISS France has been dropping out of the top 70 in the services rankings for a number of years and is now in seventh place, with a turnover of €298 million and 5,900 FTE in 2022. On a global scale, however, the Danish giant remains one of the leaders in facilities management, with a global network in more than 30 countries and a turnover of €9 billion.

A strategic sell-off

In July 2023, the Danish giant announced the sale of ISS France assets: the unsatisfactory results achieved in France have had an impact on the group’s operating margins and overall growth. ISS has therefore taken a strategic decision to withdraw from the French market in order to focus on other geographical areas. Onet made an offer in December which resulted in the signing of a put option. The transaction is subject to the approval of the French Competition Authority (Autorité de la Concurrence) and is subject to an information and consultation procedure with ISS France’s employee representatives. Once completed, this transaction will enable Onet to strengthen its position in France. “Thanks to the complementary nature of the two groups’ activities in France and the potential for numerous operational synergies, we will be able to consolidate our position as a leading brand on the French market,” says Onet. Onet’s turnover in the cleaning sector alone is expected to increase to €1.4 billion.

A sector in the throes of consolidation

The French cleaning sector has entered a phase of concentration. In order to position themselves in fiercely competitive markets, groups are acquiring competitors. At the same time, the sector is still made up of a large number of small companies. Most of these are family-owned businesses that operate as outsourced service providers: SMEs now account for 25% of the total turnover of the cleaning sector in France. It is not uncommon for small companies to be taken over by larger ones. They are particularly sought after if they operate in a niche market, such as industrial cleaning or post-disaster recovery.

Our experts at your side

AURIS Finance’s sector-specific experts have aided with numerous waste management-related transactions and acquisitions. From securing finance to finding possible targets, we can assist you in realising your goals.

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