Spanish firm buys UK waste giant

Spanish construction firm Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas is to cement its position in the UK waste market by buying Waste Recycling Group's waste disposal operations for £1.4 billion.

WRG currently handles around 13 million tonnes of the UK's waste every year, and owns both landfill sites and recycling facilities. FCC already operates its own waste disposal business in the UK. The merger will have to be approved by the competition authorities.

The deal does not include the WRG's business generating energy from waste, which was split off from its main waste business in May 2006. The firm has said it will use some of the funds from the sale to pay off its bank debts.

FCC chief executive Rafael Montes said that WRG's operations are a "strategic acquisition" for the firm.

He said: "We have been present in this market for more than 15 years through our subsidiary Focsa. Through the acquisition of WRG, and with the support of its outstanding management team, we will consolidate our position as the leading UK waste management operator.

"Our ambition is to become a European leader in the waste management sector. With the acquisition of WRG, added to our leading presence in Spain, Portugal, and Central and Eastern Europe, we are achieving this goal."

Guy Hands, chief executive of Terra Firma - the private equity group that currently owns WRG - added: "I am delighted that we have found new owners for the business who will invest further in its exciting prospects."

Gretchen Hendriks



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