Safety-Kleen to Go Public


Rerefiner Safety-Kleens holding company on Friday filed for an initial public offering of common stock to raise up to $300 million. Safety-Kleen operates a 3,500 barrel per day API Group I rerefinery in East Chicago, Ind., and a 1,500 b/d Group I rerefinery in Breslau, Ont., Canada.

We intend to use these proceeds [from the offering] for general corporate purposes, including to fund working capital and capital expenditures, and possibly to make acquisitions, said Safety-Kleen HoldCo. Inc. in the Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

According to the SEC filing, investors owning large portions of the holding company include Highland Capital Management, with more than 13 million shares (38 percent of Safety-Kleens total shares); Contrarian Capital management, with almost 6.8 million shares; JPMorgan Chase & Co. with 3.8 million shares; and GSC Group, with 3.1 million shares.

Plano, Texas-based Safety-Kleen posted revenues of $1.1 billion for 2007 and net income of $4.5 million, compared to a $73.4 million loss in 2006 and a $123.9 million loss for 2005.

Safety-Kleen noted in its filing that as a public company it would incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that it has not incurred as a private company. Although we expect these additional expenses will range between $1 million and $3 million annually, we cannot fully predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs, Safety-Kleen said.

Merrill Lynch and Co. and JPMorgan will serve as joint underwriters for the proposed offering.

The SEC filing also outlines the companys multi-year strategic plan, including plans to grow its oil business by increasing used oil collections, used oil rerefining capacity and recovered fuel oil sales. In December 2007, the company acquired certain assets of Advanced Liquid Recycling Inc. and United Oil Recovery Inc. for a purchase price of $38.6 million. The acquisition included three oil collection facilities in Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, which provided Safety-Kleen with 6.5 million additional gallons of tank storage and 15 million additional gallons of oil collection volume per year.

We have benefited from strong pricing trends and are operating our rerefining facilities at essentially full capacity, the company said. We have begun an expansion project at our rerefineries to increase our used oil rerefining capacity by approximately 24 million gallons, or 17 percent, and increase the nominal tank storage capacity at our rerefineries by 12 million gallons, by the end of fiscal year 2009. In order to increase our used oil collection capabilities, we are currently adding to our fleet of oil collection vehicles and are evaluating plans to build or acquire additional oil terminals in strategically located regions.

The company also plans to begin disposing of non-core and under-performing assets. In the filing, Safety-Kleen said examples of core offerings include oil services and products, parts cleaning services, containerized waste services and vacuum services.

To accomplish this objective, we intend to begin exiting certain lines of business such as dry cleaning, tolling and imaging, the company said. In addition, we intend to consolidate or close a number of under-performing branches in 2008 and service our customers more efficiently from other branches in the surrounding area.

The original Safety-Kleen begin in 1963 by offering a small circulating parts washer used by automobile repair shops to clean mechanical parts. Laidlaw Environmental Services, a waste disposal company, acquired Safety-Kleen in 1998. In 2000, Laidlaw filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and in 2002, a major restructuring and reorganization divested the Safety-Kleen waste disposal assets and related environmental liabilities.

In 2003, Safety-Kleen emerged from bankruptcy with Safety-Kleen HoldCo. Inc., a newly-formed Delaware corporation, as the ultimate parent. In 2004, Frederick Florjancic Jr. was named CEO and president, and Ronald Haddock as non-executive chairman of the board, and they continue in those positions now.

Safety-Kleens current competitors in North America include Evergreen, which operates an 800 b/d Group I rerefinery in Newark, Calif.; and Newalta Corp. in North Vancouver, B.C., with a capacity of 500 b/d of Group I. Heartland Petroleum LLC expects to begin production in June at a new rerefinery in Columbus, Ohio, with an estimated 1,500 b/d of Group II capacity.

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