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Kao Acquires Washing Systems, LLC, From Gryphon Investors in the United States and Strengthens Professional-use Products Business

Kao Corporation is pleased to announce that, through their US subsidiary, they have completed the acquisition of Washing Systems, LLC (hereafter, WSI; headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio) on August 9, 2018. WSI was previously owned by San Francisco, California based private equity firm Gryphon Investors. As a result of this acquisition, Kao Corporation will be expanding their chemical solution business for commercial laundry.

WSI has achieved exceptional success in the North American and European commercial laundry market by delivering industry-leading wash products and processes for water-based textile cleaning and waste-water treatment to textile rental and laundry companies, and by providing these customers best-in-class service and integrated chemical supply systems. In addition, the Ohio-based company has a proven track-record of environmental stewardship, and was the first for-profit enterprise to receive the Platinum Award (the highest award) from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in 2017.

Kao develops professional-use products primarily in Japan through Kao Professional Services Company, Ltd. Kao's mission is to maintain people's safety, security, and comfort through supporting innovative cleaning applications and hygiene management. With this acquisition, Kao will promote global development of its commercial products business.

<Outline of Washing Systems, LLC>
• Company name: Washing Systems, LLC
• Year founded: 1989
• Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, US
• Business description: Leading provider of products and services to the commercial laundry market in North America and Europe, with an illustrious track record of delivering comprehensive technological innovations and best-in-class service protocols. WSI is recognized as the industry innovation leader and has been recognized by the EPA, OSHA, and National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.
• Number of employees: Approximately 130

About Kao

Kao creates high-value-added products that enrich the lives of consumers around the world. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Jergens, John Frieda, Molton Brown, Oribe, Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries and Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. Combined with its chemical division, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,500 billion yen ($13.6 billion, at the rate of 110 yen to U.S. dollar) in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,000 people worldwide and has 130 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.

About Gryphon Investors

Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors ( is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. For 23 consecutive quarters, Gryphon has been ranked in Preqin's prestigious quarterly PE report as one of North America's top-decile buyout firms based on consistency of strong investment returns. Managing over $4 billion of equity investments and capital since 1997, the firm has an extensive track record of leading equity investments of $50 million to $200 million per portfolio company with sales ranging from approximately $100 million to $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon's capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise. Gryphon closed its fourth private equity buyout fund, Gryphon IV, L.P., in November 2016 at $1.1 billion, and raised a $100 million captive mezzanine fund, Gryphon Mezzanine Partners, L.P., in August 2017.

Media inquiries should be directed to:

Corporate Communications
Kao Corporation

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