CD&R Bolsters European Office –

Clayton Dubilier & Rice strengthened its London office with the appointment of three new hires in the past three months. The appointments represent the firm’s belief that investing in Europe presents a strategic growth opportunity.

The firm has committed more than $1.4 billion in equity capital for deals in Germany, Italy and the UK since 1998. More than 25% of CD&R’s Fund VI, which tops off at $3.5 billion, comes from European sources.

CD&R also sees Europe as a growth market for its U.S. investments. One example of this would be the firm’s merging of Acterna unit TTC with Germany-based Wavetek Wandel & Goltermann in a $550 million transaction. The merger created an international leader in the test solutions market for the telecom industry.

In bolstering its operations abroad, CD&R hired Olivier Cognet as a partner this past August. Cognet previously served as a director of strategic business development at Cisco Systems, where he was initially ingratiated with CD&R when the firm and Cisco teamed up to buy Italtel, Telecom Italia’s telecom equipment and systems integration unit.

In October, CD&R followed with the appointments of Bruno Deschamps and Christopher Spencer as partners. Deschamps had served as the chief operating officer at Ecolab prior to his appointment at CD&R, where he was in charge of integrating the company’s cleaning and sanitation products and the services industries into its European operations. Under his watch, Ecolab’s revenues grew by over 50% to $3 billion.

Spencer had served as the founder of Candover’s Paris office. Spencer had worked at Candover since 1998, before which he had been employed at UBS in their mergers and acquisitions department.

New York-based Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has been investing in Europe since 1998. In 1999, the firm opened its London office and since that time has made six additional transactions in Europe. Most recently, CD&R acquired Brake Bros., a leading food supplier, for $1 billion.