Catalyst advises family owned waste management business on its sale to international trade buyer

Catalyst Corporate Finance (“Catalyst”), the UK business of Alantra, has today advised the family owners of WSR Recycling Ltd (“WSR”) on its sale to Panda Group (“Panda”), the largest waste management business in the Republic of Ireland. The acquisition, which was completed on the 5th October, forms part of Panda’s strategic growth plans to expand its geographical footprint outside Ireland and within the UK. This is the fourth family owned business within the waste and resource management industry with whom Catalyst has concluded a successful transaction.

WSR is an independent, family owned business providing a wide range of waste management services including material recycling, treatment, logistics and disposal solutions to a range of business customers and local authorities across Greater Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. Based in Widnes, WSR will generate revenues of over £14 million in 2017.

Catalyst has worked with the owners of WSR, Nick and Amanda Prescott, over the last year, advising them on how to maximise their chance of a successful sale. The process involved discussion with a number of overseas businesses, reflecting the growing levels of interest in acquiring UK waste management businesses.

This deal evidences a trend of increasing deal activity in the waste management sector. According to Catalyst data, recently published in conjunction with the CIWM, M&A activity in the waste management sector increased by over 25% to 49 deals over the last twelve months to June 2017. Whilst the transactions have traditionally featured local strategic acquirers, over a third of all deals are now completed with overseas or financial investors.

Brian McCabe, Managing Director at Panda said “We are very excited to acquire WSR and it is our intention to continue with what is already in place, and to build and develop this even further, ensuring the company continues to provide the quality of service that customers have been used to. This acquisition is part of our strategic growth plans for the UK.”

Catalyst’s team included Partner Mark Wilson, Jonathan Toh and Leander Ots. Mark Wilson commented: “We are delighted to have worked with Nick and Amanda Prescott and the wider team at WSR over the last year - a process which culminates in the successful sale of their business to Panda. The deal testifies to the strength and quality of the WSR business, which has benefited from investment and consistent growth over the last 25 years and shown admirable adaptability in a highly changeable market environment.”

WSR’s founder and Managing Director, Nick Prescott, commented: “From the beginning of our relationship with Catalyst, it was clear they had a deep understanding of, and experience in, our sector. Catalyst has helped us identify and then negotiate a great deal with Panda, a strategic partner that we know will successfully build on our growing business.”

Catalyst’s Mark Wilson also added: “The deal supports the trend towards increasing levels of consolidation in the waste management sector and the growing interest that we are seeing in high quality UK family-owned businesses in this space from overseas as well as UK buyers.”

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