Former Verdant owners buy metal recycling firm Glazewing

1 August 2008

Two entrepreneurs who have a history of successfully buying, building-up and selling waste management businesses have taken over a recycling firm in East Anglia.

Jon and Simon Miles, who last year sold municipal waste collection business Verdant to Greenstar UK, have bought Glazewing Ltd - which collects metals, paper and other materials - for an undisclosed amount through a new acquisition vehicle, Valens Resources Group Plc.

Jon (right) and Simon Miles sold Verdant to Greenstar in 2007The brothers said they plan to build the company into a "significant" independent firm over the next few years, stretching east from the Wash to Southampton.

Metals businesses in the sector have proved attractive recently - competition with other large metal recycling firms in the region will include Norfolk-based metal recycling firm Easco which SITA UK took over in 2007 (see story).

Jon Miles, an engineer, explained that he believed there was a lot of potential to develop in the metals sector. He said: "We believe metal recycling has a bright future for go-ahead businesses that have the scale and operational efficiency to capitalise on European and global demand.

"I see similarities between the metal recycling sector today and the waste management industry in the 1980s. The latter had to evolve rapidly from being insular and fragmented to being customer and service-led, and willing to move with the times. The same dynamics are now infiltrating the metal recycling sector, which gives Simon and I a great business opportunity," he added.


Around three-quarters of Glazewing's revenue currently comes from scrap metal recycling, most of which is exported. The remaining revenue comes from materials processing and disposal services provided mainly for commercial customers in the region.

These include an approved authorised treatment facility (AATF) processing waste electrical equipment (WEEE) and end-of-life vehicle (ELV) de-pollution, as well as hazardous waste management, hiring out skips and roll on-roll off containers, and some cardboard and plastics baling.

Glazewing's metal recycling site near Kings LynnGlazewing's main six acre site and licensed transfer station at West Dereham, near Kings Lynn, adjoins further sites used for its logistics and container operations, with a further vehicle park site close by. The company operates a quayside export facility 15 miles away at Wisbech, in Cambridgeshire, where ships load metal recyclate for transport to European markets and beyond.

Glazewing founder and main shareholder Malcolm Grief is retiring, while other family members are staying with the business to further its expansion and development. All jobs at Glazewing are being retained.

Mr Miles said: "We will use our experience to drive positive change at Glazewing. We want to expand its metal recycling business, and introduce new services and revenue lines, so that it becomes a dominant new presence across the South East.

"It's all about leveraging new efficiencies, and different and safer ways of working, so that we can carve out a successful niche in a big market sector."


The Miles brothers' successful track record in the waste management arena has included buying and developing the Polkacrest healthcare waste management company prior to selling it to London Waste in 1998.

The pair also bought the Ecovert waste business in 2002 when it had nine municipal contracts, a £9 million turnover and 250 staff. They transformed the business into Verdant Group Plc which, when they sold it to Greenstar in November 2007, had over 20 local authority contracts, 1,200 staff and an annual turnover of £50 million.