Leeds Paper Recycling placed into liquidation
26 April 2013
Waste management firm Whitecase Limited, which used to trade as Leeds Paper Recycling Limited, has been placed into liquidation. This follows a meeting of creditors yesterday (April 24).
In a statement, accountancy firm KPMG Limited Liability Partnership – which has been appointed as Whitecase’s liquidators – said that the business had been placed into liquidation “due to a shortage of working capital which arose following its failure to secure additional investment.”Prior to the liquidation, some of the assets of the business were sold to WRD Group.
Leeds Paper Recycling was based at Stourton and handled substantial volumes of paper as well as commercial waste. A large number of local operators used to bring waste material in for it to be sorted the plant, some of which was turned into a refuse derived fuel.
Howard Smith and Mark Firmin of KPMG’s restructuring practice have been appointed as the joint liquidators, and KPMG said that it would now “focus on managing an orderly wind down of Whitecase’s administrative matters, including liaison with its creditors”.
Prior to liquidation, the trading name and business assets related to vehicles and collections of Leeds Paper Recycling Limited (LPR) were sold to Rotherham-based waste management firm WRD Group on April 9.
According to WRD Group, this will secure 180 driver and MRF-related jobs at Whitecase, which changed its trading name from Leeds Paper Recycling Limited on April 12 2013.
However, the WRD Group, based in Rotherham, has not acquired any of Whitecase’s recycling facilities. Whitecase premises that operated on leaseholds – including the Leeds Paper Recycling materials recycling facility (MRF) and recycling plant in Stourton, Leeds – have therefore been handed back to site landlords, a KPMG spokeswoman confirmed.
An upgrade to the Stourton site, part of a £6 million investment, was due to start in early 2012, and Whitecase also leased a second site in Leeds for the development of another MRF and a bailing operation (see letsrecycle.com story).
Following WRD’s acquisition of Whitecase, waste which would previously have been collected and sent for processing at Stourton will now be sent to WRD’s new MRF in Rotherham, which has been in operation since Monday April 8.
‘The business was placed into liquidation due to a shortage of working capital which arose following its failure to secure additional investment.’
As a result, jobs secured through WRD’s acquisition of Whitecase will now be based at WRD’s Rotherham MRF, WRD said.
Attempts made by letsrecycle.com to contact Whitecase Ltd for comment were unsuccessful, but WRD Group managing director Mark Leivers told letsrecycle.com that Whitecase Limited director Jamie Todd had been taken on by WRD as an advisor.
Mr Leivers said: “Jamie Todd has been retained as an advisor for WRD. It would be naïve of us to not seek his advice and expertise on how we can manage the business going forward.”
Commenting on WRD’s acquisition, Mr Leivers said: “We are very ambitious with what we are trying to do. This is very good news for WRD and good that we have retained and secured 180 jobs as a result.”
WRD Group’s new Rotherham MRF processes merchant waste and has been built on the site of the former Sterecycle waste treatment facility on Sheffield Road, although the firm said it was hopeful that it would also soon start to collect industrial and commercial waste.
Mr Leivers said that a MRF was already in place when WRD acquired the site, but that since then around £2 million had been spent by the firm on cleaning up the site and renovating and improving the MRF. He said that WRD was also looking at making further improvements to the facility.
The MRF is currently operating at half capacity, according to Mr Leivers, but has a permit to process up to 200,000 tonnes of waste per year.
The site was previously run as an autoclave facility by Sterecycle (Rotherham) Ltd, but on January 11 2011 one employee died and another was seriously injured following the explosion of a pressure valve at the facility (see letsrecycle.com story). Autoclaves use a combination of steam and pressure to break down the organic content of waste.
This led to an investigation by South Yorkshire Police, which is currently seeking advice from the Crown Prosecution Service with regards to any charges being made. A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police said: “We have been waiting on CPS advice since January.”
‘This is very good news for WRD and good that we have retained and secured 180 jobs as a result.’
Mark Leivers, managing director WRD Group
Sterecycle went into administration and closed in October 2012, with administrators ‘abandoning’ the autoclaves and passing them on to the landlord of the site, Andy McGee, formerly of EDS (Euro Dismantling Services).
However, Mr Leivers told letsrecycle.com that two of the three former Sterecycle autoclaves have been scrapped and the third is being sold by WRD, as heat treatment and use of autoclaves have been removed from the Environment Agency permit for the Rotherham site.
Mr Leivers said: “Improvements have been made to the site to enable WRD to operate without any use of autoclaves and to develop the new MRF.”
Commenting on the sale of the autoclave, Mr Leivers said: “We have had several expressions of interest from across the world, including in America, Russia and India. So it is just a question of finding a firm that can offer the right price.”
Eldon Stevens, who manages landlord Andy McGee’s commercial property in Yorkshire, told letsrecycle.com that various changes had been made to the site since Sterecycle closed down.
He said: “The landlord spent £1.5 million of his own money removing the autoclaves and cleaning up the site, as there were a lot of complaints from the Environment Agency about smell. There was also £350,000-worth of RDF left at the site, which has now been cleared. He didn’t want the new tenants to have any involvement with the autoclaves due to the complaints.”
The new tenant, WRD Group, encompasses three subsidiaries: Waste Recycling and Destruction; Waste Recycling and Diversion; and Waste Recycling and Digestion.
Mr Leivers said: “The anaerobic digestion (AD) side of things is an aspiration for us at the moment. We are in talks with a major partner to start building AD plants from scratch across the UK as a whole.”