- California-based GreenWaste and partner company Zanker Recycling have agreed to sell large majority stakes to MIP V Waste, a subsidiary of Macquarie Asset Management, according to multiple sources. Macquarie declined to comment. Zanker deferred questions to GreenWaste, which did not respond to a request for comment.
- As outlined in a recent letter to the Burbank Sanitary District, current stockholders or partners in GreenWaste Recovery and Zanker Road Resource Management will sell their respective stakes to MIP V Waste in a recapitalization deal for undisclosed terms. The transaction could close by the end of this year.
- "We truly could not have found a stronger and more well-suited partner that embodies our core values that is deeply committed to the exceptional service delivery you have come to know and expect, while also offering support for our future growth," wrote GreenWaste's co-CEO, Tracy Adams, in the Sept. 17 letter, adding that no staff or operational changes are expected.
The California market is in the midst of a major shift, as companies and jurisdictions prepare for the implementation of statewide organics recycling requirements under SB 1383. GreenWaste already has notable infrastructure in this area, but Macquarie's investment would position the company to potentially take an even larger role.
According to a recent Moody's Investors Service assessment, the collective GreenWaste operations generated an estimated $325 million in annual revenue for the 12-month period ending July 31, 2021. The company is expected to generate $30 million in free cash flow for 2022, with 5% revenue growth projected "driven by contractually mandated price increases and new business wins."
The transaction is being funded by a $400 million, seven-year term loan in combination with an unspecified "equity contribution from a private infrastructure fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets." In addition, a $100 million, five-year revolving credit facility is planned for future "working capital needs."
Zanker started out in 1985 with the purchase of the inactive Zanker Road landfill in San Jose, California, to use for recycling operations. GreenWaste launched in 1991 to offer yard waste collection and processing services for San Jose. Today, following multiple expansions, the family of companies serves residential and commercial customers throughout Silicon Valley and the Central Coast of California with a network of collection, transfer and processing operations. Because they don't run an active landfill, GreenWaste and Zanker often say they are especially focused on achieving high recycling rates.
The companies are also known for their mixed waste processing capabilities, and they recently completed large upgrades to a San Jose MRF in 2018. They also have a sizable C&D recycling presence, with Construction & Demolition Recycling ranking them among the largest processors by volume in the country. In addition, the companies process large volumes of food and yard waste, with further capacity expansions planned to meet the needs of SB 1383, according to BioCycle. Facilities include the Z-Best Composting site in Gilroy, California, and the Zero Waste Energy Development Co. anaerobic digester in San Jose.
While Moody's gives GreenWaste credit for landfill diversion capabilities that are a good fit in California's evolving regulatory landscape, it also recognizes more limited growth opportunities than some other Macquarie investments.
"GreenWaste is only a regional operator with a presence in one state and will generate less than $400 million of annual revenue for the foreseeable future," said Brian Silver, a vice president and senior analyst with Moody's, in a statement. At the same time, Moody's notes the company has a stable, recurring revenue outlook due to many multi-year contracts that contain annual price escalators in "relatively affluent and growing municipalities."
Several companies with business in California have been weighing acquisitions recently, in part due to SB 1383's implementation. In one example, Burrtec Waste Industries' plan to buy multiple local haulers was recently reported by Bakersfield.com. Waste Connections recently closed on the purchase of a large company with operations in northern California, and multiple publicly traded companies have been looking for California deals, in part to boost their organics recycling infrastructure.
Sources indicate at least one public company was actively pursuing GreenWaste, but records show Macquarie sealed the deal on Aug. 28 with a letter of agreement. GreenWaste has been informing municipal customers in the weeks since, as a change of control over franchise contracts requires local approval in some cases. The Burbank Sanitary District confirmed that it expects a final vote about its contract with GreenWaste next week. The transaction also appears on recent meeting agendas in the town of Woodside and city of Scotts Valley.
Earlier this year, two Macquarie-backed companies — Wheelabrator Technologies and Tunnel Hill Partners — merged into New Hampshire-based WIN Waste Innovations. Macquarie also now has a stake in Illinois-based LRS as part of a recent recapitalization. Prior Macquarie investments in the North American waste industry include WCA Waste, Waste Industries and GFL Environmental.
As it states in its recent letter, GreenWaste is "expected to remain a stand-alone business entity," and sources don't anticipate any potential combination with other Macquarie portfolio companies.
Based on the track record of Macquarie and other private equity investors in the waste industry, a period of accelerated expansion and acquisitions could soon be in GreenWaste's future. Macquarie Infrastructure Partners V (the fund behind MIP V Waste) closed with $6.9 billion in investments in July and plans to pursue "high-quality infrastructure assets" in multiple sectors, including waste management.
This story has been updated to include information from an Oct. 14 Moody's rating.