Olleco, the renewables division of the ABP Food Group, has bought the Westcott Park anaerobic digestion facility in Aylesbury from Renewi (formerly Shanks).
The deal was announced today but the sale value was not disclosed. Renewi had failed to make the plant profitable and it said the sale “reflects the decision by the board to exit the loss making facility in line with its strategy to actively manage its municipal portfolio to improve group margins and returns.”
In 2015, as Shanks, the company said it had increased food waste input into the Buckinghamshire facility by 150% to over 900 tonnes per week and achieved PAS110 standard for the digestate produced. But the AD sector is known to be under some pressure with reduced gate fees although energy income remains strong for most plants. Security of supplies has also been an issue for some facilities.
Olleco has two existing AD plants. One is in also in Aylesbury, near to the Arla dairy business site. It has a second in Bootle, Merseyside adjacent to the company’s biodiesel plant.
Renewi said that all employees based at Westcott Park will transfer to Olleco. James Priestley, managing director of Renewi’s municipal division said: “The sale of our Westcott Park facility is completely in line with our strategy to actively manage our municipal portfolio. We are taking decisive action to improve the performance of the Division and this demonstrates we are delivering against that recovery plan. The facility and the team based there will now be part of an operation exclusively focused on the food waste market which will be beneficial for customers and suppliers as well as the people based at the facility. We will now work with Olleco to ensure a seamless transition.”
Olleco said today that the Westcott facility has capacity to process 96,000 tonnes of food waste a year and produce up to 3.2 Mw of green electricity and 4.8Mw of heat.
Robert Behan, managing director of Olleco, said: “Olleco is delighted to make this acquisition, which will provide added capacity and improve the service we provide to our 50,000 customers across the UK. The move will also complement our existing operations in nearby Aylesbury and in Liverpool. Today’s announcement is also a significant development from an ABP Food Group perspective as it further demonstrates the company’s renewable energy strategy and is another practical example of the circular carbon economy in action.”
Olleco explained that its activities see it collecting waste food and cooking oil from the retail and food service sector and converting this waste into bio diesel, bio gas and bio fertiliser. The company employs over 600 people in 15 locations across the UK.
ABP Food Group
ABP Food Group describes itself as “one of Europe’s leading privately owned agribusiness companies”.
It is the largest beef processor in Ireland and the UK. The company also operates substantial renewable (Olleco), pet food (C&D) and protein divisions. It employs over 10,000 people and has 51 manufacturing plants in Ireland, UK, Denmark, Poland, Austria, Holland, France and Spain. ABP Food Group in 2015 opened what is considered as the world’s first certified carbon neutral abattoir in Ellesmere where waste material from the food processing operation is used in conjunction with used cooking oil to provide the energy requirements on site.