New Earth bought by PandaGreen as Irish company eyes UK expansion
All five of the waste treatment facilities operated by New Earth Solutions before its sale earlier this year have been acquired by PandaGreen Ltd, Ireland’s largest waste management company, as it seeks to move into the UK market.sold by the company’s administrators earlier this year as part of a deal with DM Opco, a company with little visible presence. But last week (13 October) PandaGreen, part of the larger Panda Group, acquired the shares of DM Topco, the subsidiary arm of DM Opco that had continued trading as New Earth Solutions.
The acquisition means that the firm, which collects waste from over 200,000 Irish homes, as well as over 20,000 commercial clients, will now take over all five New Earth sites – three mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facilities at Avonmouth near Bristol, Canford in Dorset and Cotesbach in Leicestershire, and two in-vessel composting (IVC) facilities in Blaise in Kent and Sharpness in Gloucestershire.
The business will continue to trade as New Earth Solutions in the short term, with no change to operations at the sites.
Peter Mills, who will take on the role of Managing Director of Panda’s UK operations, having previously been Head of Commercial and Operations at New Earth Solutions Group, says that the company will honour all of its contracts and that all local authorities have been contacted and assured that the facilities will continue “business as usual”.
New Earth manages around 450,000 tonnes of waste from both local authority and commercial customers at its sites every year.
Mills added that Panda is keen to invest in the facilities and improve practices as it expands its operations in the UK.
PandaGreen has become Ireland’s largest waste management company after taking over Greenstar, its largest competitor, earlier this year.
The takeover was investigated by the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to determine whether it would ‘substantially lessen competition’ in parts of Ireland, but was approved in August, with the proviso that it sells Greenstar’s domestic waste collection business in two areas of Dublin.
With the deal completed, the group has now bought the New Earth Solutions businesses ‘to continue its ambitious growth strategy’, saying that the business will be used ‘as a UK growth platform’.
As well as expanding its waste operations, the group states that it will be seeking to investigate opportunities to grow and diversify its offering in the UK, including through its new utility company, Panda Power, which provides renewable energy to domestic customers.
Managing Director of PandaGreen Brian McCabe commented: “Panda is delighted and excited by this acquisition. Whilst ensuring we continue to offer a reliable service to the customers of the five waste treatment facilities, it is our intention to further invest in order to ensure continued high rates of recycling and diversion of waste from landfill.
“Peter Mills… will have all the support he needs from Panda to ensure we take this business to new levels. We are delighted to have Peter on board as he brings a level of past knowledge and experience to this new business and we look forward to working with Peter and his team into the future.”
Sale has no effect on unpaid creditors
New Earth Solutions entered administration in June after takeover negotiations with an unnamed developer of large combined heat and power plants broke down. More than 100 jobs were saved when the company was bought just two days after entering administration by the Leeds-based DM Opco, for which little public information is available, for £5.9 million, with the majority (£3.2 million) going towards equipment and vehicles.
However, in the months that followed New Earth’s administrators, Duff & Phelps, told investors that they were ‘unlikely’ to recover any funds and then published a report revealing that creditors were likely to miss out on over £9 million after the sale, with ‘no hope of repayment’.
As the acquisition by PandaGreen is independent of the sale to DM Opco, the transaction will have no bearing on the funds that have been lost by creditors.