Viridor sells glass recycling division

EXCLUSIVE: Viridor has sold its glass recycling business and assets to Antwerp-based Sibelco for an undisclosed fee, after taking a “strategic decision” to exit the market.

An external view of Viridor's glass recycling facility in Newhouse, North Lanarkshire

While the exact details of the transaction are undisclosed, it is known to include Viridor’s three reprocessing plants at Newhouse, Sheffield, and Peterborough.

An external view of Viridor’s glass recycling facility in Newhouse, North Lanarkshire

The acquisition is being made by Sibelco Green Solutions (SGS) UK Ltd, part of Sibelco UK. The company had previously said it hoped to complete the transaction by 1 June 2021.

Staff employed by Viridor at the glass business will now be taken on by Sibelco. This includes those working in the commercial and financial teams, who it is hoped will help with the business transition and provide familiar contacts for Sibelco’s customers and suppliers.

A spokesperson for Sibelco told letsrecycle.com: “I can confirm that the acquisition has taken place and involves sites in Sheffield and Newhouse. The people transfer to Sibelco. No price will be disclosed.”

‘Strong track record’

A Viridor spokesperson told letsrecycle.com: “The glass recycling business owned by Viridor has been sold to Sibelco. The business has been acquired as a going concern and the process to transfer assets and personnel has begun.

“While Viridor recognises the recycling of glass is a vital part of waste management, we have made the strategic decision to exit this activity”

Viridor

“Sibelco have a strong track record of growth in glass recycling, with vast expertise and knowledge in this sector. The teams transferring to Sibelco from Viridor will be a core part of their UK growth plans.

“While Viridor recognises the recycling of glass is a vital part of waste management, we have made the strategic decision to exit this activity. We would like to thank all our customers and employees at the glass recycling facilities for their support over the years. We know that this support will continue to drive the business forward for Sibelco. We wish everyone the best for the future.”

Recycling assets

Having acquired Viridor for £4.2 billion in July 2020, global investment firm KKR is thought to have put many of the waste management company’s recycling assets on the market as it looks instead to concentrate on the lucrative energy from waste (EfW) market (see letsrecycle.com story).

KKR is believed to be more interested in the steady income available via facilities such as Viridor’s Trident Park EfW plant in Cardiff

In November, Viridor sold its waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) division to Scottish firm Shore Recycling for an undisclosed sum (see letsrecycle.com story). Shore Recycling, which specialises in the recycling of fridges as well as other WEEE, was previously bought by Viridor for £23 million in 2008. According to Companies House, a separate company, also called Shore Recycling, was incorporated in August 2020 and took over Viridor’s WEEE recycling business.

Last month, rival waste management company Biffa announced it had agreed to acquire Viridor’s collections business and “certain recycling assets” for £126 million (see letsrecycle.com story).

Sibelco

On its website, Sibelco says it is a global material solutions company which sources, transforms and distributes specialty industrial minerals including silica, clays, feldspathics and olivine. It also describes itself as a “leader” in glass recycling.

Sibelco was founded in 1872 and is based in Antwerp in Belgium. The company says it operates in 31 countries including the UK and has more than 5,300 employees.

In the video below, Sibelco says it sources more than one million tonnes of glass waste each year and turns it into cullet in four colour streams.

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