Waste management companies owning landfill sites should consider pooling their resources to maximise revenue, according to a sector boss.
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Nick Pollard, chief executive of Cory Riverside Energy, who has overseen a transformation of the original Cory group of companies including divestment of its own landfill business, is upbeat about the intrinsic value of such sites.
Pollard told MRW there were 5-10 would-be suitors for Cory’s landfill division before it was sold in January to the reinsurance company Armour Holdings. That interest has convinced him there is a future for landfill in the right ownership and with the right strategy.
“The real challenge was understanding what its business proposition should be in the future,” he told MRW. “There were quite a lot of Jonahs in the wider industry who seemed to see landfill and gas simply as a liability, long term.”
Pollard, recruited to head Cory in late 2015, said the key was to assess the value of the future revenue stream and value of those sites, something Armour understood well.
“We were pleasantly surprised that there was quite a number of interested parties who wanted to buy into that particular business proposition.
“One can’t help think that it is probably the opportunity for the industry to aggregate some of its sites and manage them as a wider portfolio.”
Pollard’s comments came in a wide-ranging ‘Big Interview’ for the June issue of MRW.
He sets out how the 120-year-old company was now focused on its energy-from-waste business at Belvedere on the Thames, supplied by barges transporting materials from four London transfer stations.
That has also meant the sale of Cory’s municipal business to Biffa and the brokerage side to Reconomy.
The company also refinanced its debt in March.
Pennon Group, which owns Viridor, has reported that its profits from landfill sites has grown 3.2% to £6.5m. Viridor now has 11 landfill sites. The company is planning to reduce this to a “handful” of strategic sites by the end of 2020.
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Pictures: Anthony Coleman