Biffa has marked the reporting of upbeat annual figures by announcing a partnership with Covanta in the operation of energy-from-waste (EfW) plants.
Ian Wakelin, chief executive of Biffa, said his company had delivered a strong performance in the year that included its listing on the London Stock Exchange.
Headline numbers of the annual report included net revenue up 8.3% to £898.8m, most of it from acquisitions, underlying profit after tax up 251% to £35.8m (2016: £10.2m) and a maiden dividend to shareholders of 2.4p per share.
Wakelin told MRW that shareholders had not received dividends “for a long time” and he was pleased at the proportion of debt to ebitda being 1.8.
The company had spent £25.7m on five businesses this year and had “a strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities”. The waste management industry was getting more complicated, he said, making consolidation in the market more likely.
“We have continued to take actions to improve the efficiency of our operations, get closer to our customers and leverage new opportunities for investment. Our expectations for the year ahead remain unchanged and we look forward with confidence,” he added.
He stressed that the EfW agreement signed with Covanta to explore jointly two potential projects on an exclusive basis was at the earliest stages. It concerned the Newhurst site in Leicestershire (pictured), for which Biffa won permission in 2012, and the Protos site in Cheshire.
“It is clear the UK has a significant shortage of EfW treatment capacity. It is in our interest that it is filled and the infrastructure is built. Our choice [of technology] will be very, very low risk.”
Wakelin said Covanta was a world leader in “classic large incinerator technology” with 40 plants around the world.
- The share price when Biffa joined the Stock Exchange was 180p, lower than originally anticipated. On 13 June, it was more than 197p.