Prior to our acquisition, the company now known as BWA Water Additives was the non-core industrial water chemicals subsidiary of Chemtura Inc. It had extensive experience in the water treatment sector, where its products were principally used to control the build up of scale and corrosion and to treat microbiological growth in water.
Working with a management team led by Chairman and CEO David Cartmell, we identified an opportunity to create a new independent business and pursue its significant growth potential.
In May 2006, we invested to acquire the business from Chemtura and renamed it BWA Water Additives. An early task was to install new and improved operational and reporting IT systems to enable the business to identify margins for each product and customer. We made significant investments in R&D and the sales team, in order to drive growth through product and market expansion. This included establishing new R&D Technical Centres in North America and the UK. We also extended the product portfolio by acquiring a suite of niche formulations from Atkinson Chemicals.
BWA became a global market leader in the development and the marketing of speciality branded chemicals for the water treatment market. Headquartered in the UK and the USA, the business operated in over 80 countries worldwide and experienced revenue growth from $90m to $120m under our ownership, while headcount doubled during the same period.
We realised our investment through the sale of the business to UIB Bank of Bahrain in September 2008, and this generated a return of 3.5x. At the time of our exit a pipeline of new products was in place to help underpin future growth.