9 October 2019 by Caelia Quinault

Australia’s Cleanaway acquires SKM Recycling assets

Cleanaway Waste Management has strengthened its position in the Australian recycling market by acquiring the assets of the beleaguered recycling firm, SKM Recycling Group.

Cleanaway – whose UK business was sold to Veolia in 2006 – announced today (October 9) that it is to take over the properties, plant, equipment and other assets of SKM for approximately $66 million (£36 million). The acquisition will be completed by the end of this month.

A factor in the demise of SKM Recycling was the fall in demand for materials and quality controls imposed by China

SKM Recycling hit the headlines in July 2019 after it stopped taking recycling from more than 30 councils in the state of Victoria before going into receivership, being described by the state government at the time as “cowboys”.

Cleanaway acquired the senior debt of SKM in August 2019 and said it had been working hard ever since to clear stockpiles of waste caused by the collapse of the company.

Cleanaway said it now planned to restore recycling services for affected councils in the coming months.

Cleanaway is a major recycling and waste contractor in Australia

Cleanaway chief executive and managing director, Vik Bansal, said: “Since the appointment of Receivers and Managers, significant progress has been made in clearing waste stockpiles from the sites, repairing plant and equipment and bringing the sites to required safety, environmental and operational standards.

“We expect to gradually restore operations in Victoria over the coming months to provide councils with a quality, sustainable solution for their recycling.”

Sites

Five recycling sites – including three material recovery facilities (MRFs), a plastics sorting facility and a transfer station in Victoria and a MRF in Tasmania – will now transfer to Cleanaway.

The acquisition will also include two properties in South Australia which Cleanaway said “are not currently expected to form part of future operations and may be sold.”

Cleanaway said it expected to offer employment to the majority of SKM’s full time employees.

Mr Bansal, said: “The Acquisition provides Cleanaway with a strong recycling platform in Victoria and Tasmania as part of our Footprint 2025 strategy and our mission of making a sustainable future possible.

“The recycling sector is undergoing significant structural changes with a move to increase recycling within Australia to support a transition towards a circular economy. The Acquisition provides us with the infrastructure to capitalise on the growth opportunities created by these changes.”

Cleanaway added that the Acquisition is not expected to contribute materially to the company’s earnings during the current financial year.

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