- 3i North American Infrastructure, a division of investment company 3i Group, recently provided growth capital to Matter Management, the parent company of Georgia-based AmWaste. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- AmWaste currently employs more than 500 people with operations in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. This includes residential, commercial, roll-off and portable toilet rental business lines.
- The company operates eight landfills, 10 transfer stations and one MRF. That list includes the Whitestone Valley C&D Landfill in Georgia and four transfer stations that were acquired from Cash Environmental Resources with funding from the investment.
Private equity and infrastructure firms are taking an increasingly regional approach to solid waste investments and deploying funds to accelerate the growth of vertically integrated companies. AmWaste is the latest example of a company that has gained notable scale and is starting to attract broader attention.
The company was founded in 2010 by CEO Chip Russell, who formerly worked at the engineering consulting firm Hodges, Harbin, Newberry & Tribble. It has grown organically and through prior acquisitions to service over 300,000 customers per week across all of its business lines. This includes multiple municipal contracts for residential service.
“I think we've definitely become a regional company, quietly. We cover a pretty vast amount of territory,” said Russell
The company’s service area spans from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the west to Savannah, Georgia, in the east — with density throughout each state. It also has a significant presence in the Birmingham, Alabama, market, among others.
Russell said he had a longstanding relationship with Trevor Russo, who is a director with 3i North American Infrastructure, dating back to when AmWaste was a much smaller business. Now that AmWaste has “proven our thesis” and gained scale, he said it felt like the right time to partner. Houlihan Lokey advised AmWaste in the transaction.
“We have collected all these assets and we see a ton of opportunity,” said Russell. “3i just provides capital and alliance in our view of the market.”
AmWaste’s management team has stayed in place, and the deal has not affected its operations or services.
"3i views this as a partnership. We're very excited,” said Russo. “Given the company's focus on service combined with the disposal assets they have, we think they're positioned for strong growth."
While the 3i investment closed in July, the company took a characteristically under-the-radar approach and didn’t disclose the transaction until it was noted last week in 3i’s results from the first half of its fiscal year. According to those results, the 3i North American Infrastructure platform (which includes non-waste assets) had invested 72% of its $495 million fund as of September.
3i North American Infrastructure also includes EC Waste — the largest vertically integrated solid waste company in Puerto Rico. 3i acquired a majority stake in EC in late 2021. That deal was structured differently than the AmWaste investment. According to the half-year results, EC has recently seen “good performance from its residential collection contracts, landfill operations and through contract wins for debris clean ups.”
Looking ahead, Russell said he sees “a lot of runway” for AmWaste and plans to use the investment partnership to expand in its current area following traditional industry strategies.
"We've been able to watch other models from Waste Pro and Santek and Republic and Waste Management and how they've grown their businesses and we're running the same plays they're all running,” he said. “I think we're definitely poised at the right time, right place."