14 June 2017 by Will Date

Biffa agrees EfW partnership and eyes growth potential

UK waste management giant Biffa plc has announced a partnership with energy from waste specialist Covanta to explore the development of two EfW plants in Cheshire and Leicestershire.

The agreement was announced to coincide with the release of the company’s preliminary financial results this morning (14 June) for the year up to 24 March 2017, in which Biffa reported a growth in net revenue, up 8.3% to £898.8 million, and a total profit after tax of £35.8 million.


Artist’s impression of Biffa’s proposed Newhurst EfW facility

The results cover a year in which Biffa saw substantial growth within its operations, having completed five acquisitions, as well as its successful listing on the London Stock Exchange (see letsrecycle.com story).

Acquisitions included the waste collection business of Cory and Blakeley’s Recycling in the north west of England.


Speaking to letsrecycle.com this morning, Biffa’s chief executive Ian Wakelin has said that the integration of the five newly acquired businesses into the company is ongoing, and added that there is good potential for future growth through further acquisitions.

He said: “We are relentless in integrating the acquired businesses into our infrastructure and changing the culture of the businesses we acquire, we are not entirely through that integration process yet.

“Will there be more [acquisitions]? Yes, I am sure there will. We are always looking for opportunities to capitalise on the infrastructure we have.”

Mr Wakelin said he was ‘delighted’ with the performance of the business during the 12 months covered in the report, which he said reflects a wider stability in the UK’s waste and recycling sector.

He said: “We are definitely more stable than we were five to seven years ago, and we have had a number of years of improving performance and revenues. We have been working to de-risk our business from commodity price movements, and we have renegotiated arrangements where we now share the risk on commodity prices up or down.”

Commenting on the wider political landscape, with the UK’s exit from the European Union and potential for major political upheaval in light of the General Election result last week which returned a hung parliament, Mr Wakelin said that there is a ‘degree of uncertainty’ over future policy direction.

“Will there be more [acquisitions]? Yes, I am sure there will. We are always looking for opportunities to capitalise on the infrastructure we have.”

Ian Wakelin

But, he welcomed commitments by the major political parties in the build up to the Election to retain the European legislation which underpin waste laws in the UK.


Mr Wakelin also reaffirmed Biffa’s commitment to growing the energy from waste arm of the business, revealing that the company has reached agreement with American firm Covanta to explore the continued development of energy from waste plants at Newhurst in Leicestershire (see letsrecycle.com story) and for Biffa to provide investment on the Protos project in Cheshire (see letsrecycle.com story).

He said: “We believe there is an infrastructure deficit with energy from waste, and it is very much in our interest for that capacity to be built.”

Commenting on the Covanta agreement, he said: “We have signed an agreement to explore, on an exclusive basis, Newhurst and a potential project in Cheshire.”



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