Biffa owners consider selling business
28 March 2012
The owners of Biffa are considering selling the company as part of a wider review of the business.
But, it is understood that no sale is imminent and no decisions have yet been made.
The waste management company, which is the second largest in the UK, is owned by two private equity firms - Montagu and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).
Today (March 28), the Telegraph claimed the firms were in advanced talks over a ‘firesale’ of Biffa after the business had been ‘ hit hard’ by the economic downturn.
The newspaper suggested that advanced talks were being held with Veolia, Suez and Pennon – the owners of waste management companies Veolia ES, SITA UK and Viridor respectively.
Speaking to letsrecycle.com, a source close to the company said that nothing had been agreed and that no sale was imminent, but did confirm that a sale was being considered.
The source said: “[Investment bank] Goldman Sachs were hired a while ago to conduct a strategic review of the business, which is a very standard process for private equity companies. It [Biffa] is not up for sale per se but that is one of the options being looked at.”
The planned sale of Biffa has been something of an open secret in the waste industry in the last few months and all eyes are now on what happens to the business.
The company, which has its head office in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, has already been through a number of changes already in the past few years including its sale to Montagu and Global Infrastructure Partners in 2008 for £1.2 billion, subsequent takeover of Greenstar UK for £135 million in 2010 (see letsrecycle.com story) and appointment of Ian Wakelin as chief executive (see letsrecycle.com story).
In Biffa's 2011/12 Mid Year report, published in December 2011, Mr Wakelin acknowledged that the company was experiencing “economically difficult and challenging times” with “no discernible sign of improvement”.