Cory in £187m accounting loss despite ‘record’ 2021

Cory reported a “record” operational performance in 2021 despite the London-based waste management company recording an “accounting loss” of £187.1 million, up from £28 million in 2020.

Cory's Belvedere EfW plant has been granted a permit to increase capacity

Cory published its annual report for the year ending 31 December 2021 today (4 May), where it posted the “accounting loss”.

The company runs the Belvedere energy from waste (EfW) plant on the South Bank of the Thames and a materials recycling facility (MRF) in Wandsworth.

The company attributes the loss to a change in the value of its Retail Price Index (RPI) swaps, “which are held at fair value with any movements in their value recorded through the profit and loss account.”

This means some of its assets have decreased in value, creating an unrealised loss in its accounts which could affect its profits in future.

The company says £138.3m of the loss is due to the movement in the value of RPI swaps, with a further £4.4m due to its interest rate swaps.

Cory says it took out the RPI swap to “manage inflation risk and fix the inflation on its long-term RPI-linked customer contracts.”

In more positive news for the company, Cory generated £141.4 million in underlying revenue, up from £129.4 million in 2020, and £73.6 million in EBITDA, up from £62.5 million.

Despite the losses, Ben Butler, Cory’s chief financial officer, said: “I am pleased to report another year of strong operational and financial performance – we outperformed in every dimension with revenues, profits and distributions all exceeding my expectations.”

EfW

Cory says it processed a “record” 782,000 tonnes of residual waste at its Riverside EfW facility in Belvedere in 2021, its “best operational performance” since the plant was commissioned in 2011.

Dougie Sutherland is Cory’s CEO

This represents a 7% increase in material processed at the facility from 2020.

Dougie Sutherland, Cory’s CEO, said: “Although 2021 was affected by Covid-19, supply chain constraints, and inflationary pressures, it was also a year that showcased the quality of our people and the resilience of our business and markets.

“We pulled together and continued to deliver a quality and reliable service for our clients and communities.”

Cory says it saw a “strong performance” across its recycling operations, sorting around 71,000 tonnes of recyclable waste at its MRF in Wandsworth, with further recyclables processed through two household waste recycling centres.

Mr Butler said Cory invested £5 million in 2021 to develop its projects, which included its Riverside 2 facility, a heat network for the heat produced by its Riverside 1 facility, and a carbon capture project.

Cory is developing Riverside 2, a second EfW facility next to its first in Belvedere, to process 655,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste each year. The company aims for this facility to be operational by the end of 2026, according to the report.

Covid-19

According to the report, Covid-19’s main impact on Cory in 2021 was in terms of volumes of commercial and industrial waste, which were “suppressed” in the first half of the year but recovered to pre-Covid levels by the end.

Cory says volumes of commercial and industrial waste were “suppressed” in the first half of 2021 (picture: Shutterstock)

There is a “significant” shortage of residual waste treatment infrastructure in London and the South East, the report says, so Cory was able to find short-term replacement waste from other customers.

Cory expects that economic growth should translate into a further upturn in waste and recycling volumes in 2022, as “the recovery of waste volumes in London is dependent on the economic recovery of the city as well as societal factors such as working patterns and population trends.”

Cory

Cory currently works directly with eight London Boroughs, including Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Bexley, Tower Hamlets, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Barking and Dagenham, and the City of London.

The company underwent a rebrand in May 2021 to “refocus” the company’s operations from energy generation and place greater emphasis on its waste services, dropping the words ‘Riverside Energy’ from its name (see letsrecycle.com story).

In January 2022, Cory announced it had acquired the McGrath Group, an independent recycling and waste management company based in Barking, East London (see letsrecycle.com story).

The company says it plans to invest more than £800 million in its operations and river infrastructure in the coming years. This includes the company’s second EfW facility.

Related link
Cory 2021 Annual Report 

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