Auction begins for Cory Riverside Energy facility valued at £1.5bn

An auction is underway for the UK’s largest energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in London, set to be sold for a price that could reach more than £1.5 billion.

Cory Riverside Energy currently owns and runs the facility on the banks of the River Thames in Belvedere, East London, which has been operational since 2012 and has a yearly capacity of around 750,000 tonnes of residual waste.

The company is majority-owned by global investment firm Strategic Value Partners, which, it is reported, has started an auction for the facilityunder advisement from financial services companies JP Morgan and Credit Suisse, after rumours of a sale arose in October of last year.

Auction begins Cory Riverside Energy facility valued at £1.5bn
Cory transports waste via the River Thames to its Belvedere facility in East London

A number of major Chinese investment funds are said to be interested in purchasing the plant, including China Everbright Group and Beijing Enterprises, as well as Hong Kong magnate Li Ka-shing, Chair of CK Hutchison Holdings, which has a vast portfolio of investments in energy, infrastructure, retail, telecommunications and ports across the world, including British companies Northumbrian Water Group and Wales & West Gas Networks.

Cory announced a turnover of £103.5 million in 2016, but in April 2017 reported the conclusion of a £520 million debt-refinancing package, which completed the restructuring of the business to focus on EfW exclusively, selling off its waste collection and brokerage businesses, as well as its landfill operations, over the previous year.

Despite the auction, it is expected the company will continue in its contracts with local authorities including Lambeth, Wandsworth and the City of London, among others; notably, Cory last year signed a ten-year contract with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (running until March 2027 and potentially until 2035) to process up to 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.

The company also announced in November 2017 that it would be submitting a planning application by Quarter Four of the 2016/17 financial year for a new energy park, to be situated alongside the Belvedere EfW plant and slated to come online from 2024. This would employ a wider range of technologies including anaerobic digestion, solar panels and battery storage, and Cory claims it would divert an additional 650,000 tonnes of residual waste from landfill every year.

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