GFL to stay private amid IPO rumors with $5B recapitalization deal
- GFL Environmental has recapitalized through a new investor agreement that values the company at approximately $5.125 billion. The deal, which comes after speculation about a potential IPO, is expected to close by the end of June.
- Per the deal, Patrick Dovigi will remain in place as CEO, while HPS Investment Partners, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III and Hawthorn Equity Partners have been bought out as partners. The recapitalization deal was led by U.K.-based BC Partners and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
- "It was my preference to stay private as long as we could," Dovigi said at the Waste Expo Investor Summit on April 23. He confirmed 65% of the company will now be owned by outside parties. Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan will comprise half of that share. BC Partners and two unnamed parties will make up the other half.
Since Dovigi started Ontario-based GFL Environmental in 2007 with eight employees, it has grown to include more than 5,000 people on staff with operations in both the U.S. and Canada. What began with a focus on liquid waste — modeled in part after Veolia— now involves a major solid waste business and yields more than $1.3 billion in annual revenue. GFL currently services 2.5 million municipal customers and 60,000 ICI accounts.
Following the 2016 acquisitions of Montreal company Matrec and Detroit-area Rizzo Environmental Services — the company's first U.S. deal — many in the industry have been wondering what's next. That has fueled speculation around a potential IPO, further tuck-in acquisitions and even larger deals in other states. Like at last year's investor summit, Dovigi said the goal would be to grow into contiguous northern markets rather than new areas of the country.
During the summit interview, Stifel's Michael E. Hoffman asked if that might make Casella Waste Systems a good acquisition option because of its Northeast location. Dovigi deferred on addressing that directly, saying that the goal is to "make money from whatever we buy" and that "we don’t need to grow just to grow." CEO John Casella later told Waste Dive he joked about it with Hoffman and clarified: "No, the company's not for sale."
Wherever GFL goes next, it's widely expected the company's growth story is far from over. Just last month, GFL announced the purchase of two British Columbia service providers, the latest of multiple 2018 deals.
Follow Cole Rosengren on Twitter