Sep 04, 2003

Blackstone, Apollo and Goldman Sachs to Acquire Ondeo Nalco from Suez for $4.2 Billion

New York, NY, September 4, 2003 – A consortium of private equity firms comprised of The Blackstone Group, Apollo Management, L.P., and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners (collectively, the “Investor Group”) announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ondeo Nalco (“Nalco”) from Suez S.A. in a transaction valued at $4.2 billion.(1)

Nalco is the world leader in providing water treatment and process chemicals and services to companies in the general industrial, institutional, pulp and paper, and energy sectors. With over 10,000 employees and operations in 130 countries, the Company provides innovative applications and solutions for the water and industrial process needs of over 60,000 customers. Nalco generated revenues of over $2.6 billion in 2002 and is based in Naperville, IL.

Stephen A. Schwarzman, President and CEO of The Blackstone Group, said, “We are very pleased to reach an agreement with Suez, with whom we have had a long-standing relationship, to purchase Nalco. We believe that Nalco is a world-class company with strong fundamentals and are excited about its future prospects. As a service business, Nalco has developed a terrific brand and reputation, founded on the hard work of its many talented employees.”

Leon Black, Founding Partner of Apollo Management, L.P., stated, “We are very excited to be purchasing Nalco, the premier company in its industry. We look forward to working in partnership with the investor group and Nalco’s management and employees to assist Nalco in realizing its full potential as a standalone company.”

Richard A. Friedman, Managing Director and Head of Goldman Sachs’ Principal Investment Area, stated, “We are pleased to be investing in the world’s leading provider of water treatment chemicals and services with an outstanding global platform. This attractive investment is consistent with our strategy of identifying high-quality companies with leading industry positions. We look forward to growing the Company in partnership with Nalco’s employees, management, and our co-investors.”

The transaction will be funded with approximately $3.2 billion of senior and subordinated debt financing and the remainder in equity provided by the Investor Group, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2003, subject to customary regulatory approvals. Following the transaction, Nalco will operate as an independent company.

About The Blackstone Group

The Blackstone Group, a private investment bank with offices in New York and London, was founded in 1985. The firm has raised a total of approximately $25 billion for alternative asset investing since its formation. Over $14 billion of that has been for private equity investing, including Blackstone Capital Partners IV, the largest institutional private equity fund ever raised at $6.45 billion. In addition to Private Equity Investing, The Blackstone Group’s core businesses are Private Real Estate Investing, Corporate Debt Investing, Marketable Alternative Asset Management, Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory, and Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory.

About Apollo Management, L.P.

Apollo Management, L.P., founded in 1990, is among the most active and successful private investment firms in the U.S. in terms of both number of investment transactions completed and aggregate dollars invested. Since its inception, Apollo has managed the investment of an aggregate of approximately $17 billion in equity capital, including $13 billion invested in corporate transactions, in a wide variety of industries, both domestically and internationally.

About Goldman Sachs Capital Partners

Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high net worth individuals. Founded in 1869, it is one of the oldest and largest investment banking firms. GS Capital Partners is the current primary investment vehicle of Goldman Sachs for making privately negotiated equity investments. The current GS Capital Partners fund was formed in July 2000 with total committed capital of $5.25 billion, $1.5 billion of which was committed by Goldman Sachs and its employees, with the remainder committed by institutional and individual investors.

(1)  Not including certain leases that will be assumed with the transaction.