EnviroWaste denies Japan sale

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 14:19 20/07/2012

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Waste management company EnviroWaste has denied reports that the company is in advanced negotiations to sell to Japan's Orix Corporation.

A report in the Australian Financial Review said Orix, which has mostly car leasing operations in New Zealand, was in talks with EnviroWaste.

But chairman Kim Ellis said the story was ''a load of old bollocks'' and that the sale process had not formally begun.

''It's right out of line,'' he said.

Orix reportedly has a waste management business in Japan.

EnviroWaste's Sydney-based private equity owners Ironbridge Capital also denied the report.

"There's no substance in that report in Australia," said NZ operational partner Kerry McIntosh.''We announced Macquarie [Capital] has undertaken a strategic review and that's ongoing.''

EnviroWaste has been waiting to see the outcome of the sale of an Australian counterpart, Thiess Waste Management, which recently went to a German trade player, Remondis AG and Co KG, for A$218 million (NZ$282m).

EnviroWaste's price tag is understood to be between $400m to $500m, above the $365m Ironbridge reportedly bought the company for in 2006.

Ellis said there had been plenty of interested parties enquiring about the company over the last couple of years, but Ironbridge was under no pressure to sell.

EnviroWaste was operating well and with Thiess up for sale, ''it was felt it was a good time to test the market, if you like.''

He said the prospective exit had more to do with the timeframes that private equity held on to businesses.

An IPO was ''more than unlikely'' because of the state of the market, but it was hard to say whether EnviroWaste would be more likely to attract a trade buyer or another private equity firm.

EnviroWaste is the smaller of New Zealand's two main waste management companies, the other being the New Zealand arm of Australian giant Transpacific Industries.

Its assets include Waikato's Hampton Downs landfill.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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