August 10, 2015 / 5:09 PM / 2 years ago

Blackstone seeks sale of facility management firm GCA: sources

(Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) is exploring the sale of GCA Services Group Inc, in a deal that could value the provider of janitors and cleaners to schools and businesses at more than $1 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential deal comes as the fragmented U.S. facility management sector prepares for a new wave of growth, buoyed by a rise in manufacturing and business confidence.

The janitorial industry is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 4.3 percent through 2018, versus U.S. economic growth of close to 3 percent, according to investment bank Scott-Macon Ltd.

Blackstone, the world's largest private equity firm, is working with investment bank Harris Williams & Co on an auction for GCA, the people said on Monday.

GCA has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of more than $100 million, the people said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential.

Blackstone declined to comment, while GCA and Harris Williams did not respond to requests for comment.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, GCA provides custodial and staffing services to schools, airports, warehouses, power stations, rental car locations and other businesses in the United States. It has more than 37,000 employees, according to its website.

Blackstone acquired GCA in 2012 from investment firm Nautic Partners LLC and other minority shareholders in a $715 million deal. Based in New York, Blackstone has more than $330 billion in assets under management.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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