Danish cleaning giant ISS sells off units, including Israeli branch

Danish cleaning giant ISS sells off units, including Israeli branch

Firm says it’s withdrawing from unprofitable markets, clarifies that affected workers will remain employed in subsidiaries being sold off

ISS Facility Services headquarters in Copenhagen. (Screen capture/YouTube)
ISS Facility Services headquarters in Copenhagen. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Danish cleaning giant ISS said Monday it was selling off part of its business, including its Israeli branch, as it quits unprofitable markets and restructures activities around higher yield clients.

“We must focus our capital and resource on those customers, services and geographies that can truly benefit from our future investment,” group chief executive officer Jeff Gravenhorst said in a statement.

ISS, founded in 1901, operates in 74 countries and is one of the world’s largest private employers with some 500,000 employees on its books.

The firm, which posted revenues of 80 billion krone ($12.2 billion) in 2017, plans to withdraw from 13 markets by 2020, raising 2.5 billion krone, Danish media reported.

ISS will focus its withdrawal on emerging markets, led by Eastern Europe, pulling out of Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Brazil, Chile and Israel.

The Israeli branch is located in Or Yehuda.

The divested businesses currently employ 100,000 of its 490,000 staff.

Spokesman Rajiv Arvind stressed the workers affected by the news were not losing their jobs but remained employed in those subsidiaries being sold off.

For Sydbank analyst Mikkel Emil Jensen, ISS was reacting to the arrival of more and more small-scale entrants to the sector.

“It is easy for new competitors to enter this market. You get a bucket and sponge and you can offer the same thing as ISS,” Jensen told the Ritzau news agency.

ISS shares were down 2.6 percent in Copenhagen early afternoon.

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