Novago

Sector: Waste management & recycling

Main location: Poland

Investment date: April 2013

Exit date: August 2016

Investment cost: II

Creating Poland’s leading waste-to-energy group. Sale to a Hong Kong-listed waste recycling business. Transaction represented the largest single Chinese investment made in Central Europe to date.

Investment Highlights

146%
valuation multiple uplift through Abris ownership
80%
increase waste recovery levels
5%
increase in processed volumes
6
production sites

Key strategic drivers 

  • Circular economy – a new waste management business model was required in Europe and Poland, reducing waste quantities sent to landfills and increasing materials recycling processes
  • Expansion of Novago’s geographic footprint, enabling market share expansion from <2% to 8% in Poland
  • Building scale through bolt-on activity
  • Secured long-term off-take contracts for alternative fuel with cement groups in Poland – the only such pay-or-take contracts in the country
  • Active capex investment programme of €30m, helping Novago establish its new strategic positioning within the waste management market

Key operational drivers 

  • Elevation of a family-owned business into a professional organisation with governance and compliance structures
  • Appointment of a new COO and CFO
  • Professionalised IT and reporting
  • Developed a new cost-effective alternative fuel to coal used by cement plants using proprietary technology, resulting in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions
  • Developed a new waste management business model, reducing waste quantities sent to landfill and increasing materials recycling processes

Exit process

The sale process of Novago was a competitive auction comprising 46 prospective investors, including eight from Asia. The bidders included strategic players, infrastructure funds, financial sponsors, international financial institutions and global integrated business enterprises. 

The eventual sale of Novago by Abris Capital Partners to China Everbright International – a China / Hong Kong-listed waste recycling business – was a groundbreaking transaction, as it represented the largest single Chinese investment made in Poland to date, and the largest acquisition in the environmental treatment industry in Central Europe.