Case Study | Highland Capital Management Turns Around Safety Kleen

By March 7, 2013May 16th, 2018Videos

Safety-Kleen is a leading provider of environmental services and the largest re-refiner of oil in the United States.

Highland built a position in the debt and equity of Safety-Kleen over a number of years. However, our Distressed and Special Situations team began investing in Safety-Kleen during the summer of 2009.

At the time of the Distressed and Special Situations team’s investment, Safety-Kleen faced a number of operational challenges ranging from declining customer satisfaction to slow reaction time to changes in crude oil prices.

The Distressed and Special Situations team assisted Safety-Kleen’s board of directors to recruit a new senior leadership team and partnered with that team to turn around the business. Highland personnel assisted Safety-Kleen’s management team to implement Lean Six Sigma and project management disciplines, which resulted in a 38% increase in customer satisfaction and dramatic improvements in profitability.

On December 28, 2012, Clean Harbors (NYSE:CLH) purchased Safety-Kleen for $1.25 billion.

About Safety-Kleen
Safety-Kleen is a leading North American used oil recycling and re-refining, parts cleaning and environmental solutions company, with approximately 4,200 employees serving more than 200,000 customer locations in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Safety-Kleen provides a broad set of environmentally-responsible products and services that keep North American businesses in balance with the environment. Safety-Kleen is a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Harbors, North America’s leading provider of environmental, energy and industrial services. For more information about the company, please visit


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