Cory secures tonnage with McGrath acquisition

Energy from waste business Cory has acquired the McGrath Group, an independent recycling and waste management company based in Barking, East London.

The deal will enable London-based Cory to secure additional tonnage for its existing 750,000 tonnes Riverside plant at Belvedere on the south bank of the Thames at Belvedere.

The deal will include McGrath’s MRF and waste transfer station, securing Cory more tonnage for it’s EfW portfolio

The company also has had plans for its proposed Riverside 2 development, an 800,000 tonnes per year capacity energy from waste (EfW) facility, approved by the planning inspector in 2020. Cory hopes to build this adjacent to the existing facility.

Securing tonnage is seen as becoming more important for developers of facilities with an estimated five million tonnes of new capacity potentially coming on stream in the future. These include the Rivenhall plant in Essex and other proposed sites such as MVV in Wisbech.

McGrath’s has been supplying RDF/SRF to energy from waste plants since 2011 and has said that “the environmental benefits of the process make this a growing area of our business”. Among its contracts is the movement of waste residues from London Energy’s MRF to the Wheelabrator plant in Kent.

Waste transfer

The Cory deal will include the McGrath Group’s facilities including a waste transfer station which currently receives more than 300,000 tonnes of recyclable and non-recyclable waste per annum, a wharf, and a materials recycling facility (MRF).

It is thought that planning permission for the second EfW facility will require Cory to move around 70% of the tonnage by water, and the wharf will help achieve this.

Cory transports waste on the River Thames and McGrath’s waste transfer station and wharf “will provide additional capability to move waste to the two EfW facilities”.

McGrath’s MRF will also expand Cory’s recycling portfolio. It currently has a municipal MRF which Cory operates for Western Riverside Waste Authority in Wandsworth. 

This acquisition gives us greater capacity to support our new clients at the EfW facility that we are developing

  • Dougie Sutherland, Cory’s chief executive


Dougie Sutherland, Cory’s chief executive, said: “This is a significant acquisition for Cory, extending our use of the river to transport more recycling and waste from East London, Essex and the wider South East region, which significantly improves safety on our roads and reduces emissions in our communities. This acquisition gives us greater capacity not only to support our existing clients, but also to support our new clients at the EfW facility that we are developing.

Dougie Sutherland, Cory’s chief executive

“We’ve worked with McGrath for a number of years. It’s a long-established, family-run business that delivers outstanding customer service. They have great people who will be a key asset for the future of Cory’s business.”

David McGrath, who founded McGrath Group with his brothers Mick and Pat in 1972, added: “My family and I are proud to have developed McGrath into the business it is today. McGrath’s independence has played an important role in helping it to grow into a successful company. It goes without saying that the decision to sell the business was not taken lightly.

“Our longstanding partnership with Cory, our experience of how they operate, and the synergies between the two businesses were key to this decision. While this is obviously a hugely significant moment for my family, for the company itself it will be a case of ‘business as usual’.


Originally specialising in skip hire services, McGrath Group is a family-run business which employs around 180 staff providing mainly commercial and construction waste recycling services across the South East.

Its other customers include Camden and Enfield councils, as well as waste management companies Biffa and Veolia.

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