RiverRidge Recycling in £10m equity investment from BGF

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A leading waste management organisation has become the second company in Northern Ireland to secure a major equity investment from BGF (Business Growth Fund), the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses.

RiverRidge Recycling is the largest independent waste management operator in Northern Ireland, treating over 400,000mt of waste each year on behalf of local authorities, commercial businesses and individual households.

The current owners of RiverRidge acquired a small skip hire and landfill site in 2011 and led by Managing Director Brett Ross it has grown via organic growth and acquisitions into a fully integrated waste management business that employs over 200 people. The organisation operates out of a number of sites located in Belfast, Coleraine, Derry-Londonderry and Portadown. It was the primary developer of the Full Circle Generation Energy from Waste facility located adjacent to Bombardier’s Wing Facility in Belfast. The £107m project which is nearing completion, was co-financed by Green Investment Bank, Equitix and P3P Partners.

BGF’s £10m investment will be used to support the company’s continued growth strategy as well as to further develop the group’s existing treatment and operations infrastructure. RiverRidge also confirmed it has secured a new funding package from Bank of Ireland to further support growth.

Following the deal, Jim Meredith, current Chairman of Augean Plc, one of the UK’s leading specialist hazardous waste management businesses, and former CEO of Waste Recycling Group has co-invested alongside BGF and has been appointed by RiverRidge as non-exec chairman. Paddy Graham, an investor at BGF, will also join the board of the company.

BGF was set up in 2011 to provide a new type of funding option for small and mid-sized businesses, offering both an alternative and complementary source of money to bank debt. BGF is now a minority partner in more than 140 companies, with RiverRidge the second business in Northern Ireland to secure funding from BGF’s £2.5bn pot. Unlike traditional private equity funding, BGF makes long-term investments and holds non-controlling stakes in the companies it supports.

The £10m investment by BGF in RiverRidge is one of the largest single equity investments into a Northern Ireland company made in recent years.

Brett Ross, MD of RiverRidge commented: “As a company we have worked tremendously hard over the past five years to allow us to become the market leader in Northern Ireland. It is therefore a significant endorsement of this effort to be able to announce the investment by BGF into our Group. We are looking forward to further growing the RiverRidge Group in the coming years and believe we have found partners, in both BGF and Bank of Ireland, who not only are best placed to support this progression, but also understand the strategy thoroughly.”

BGF initially invests between £2m and £10m and can provide additional funding to support further growth. It backs private and AIM listed companies that typically have revenues of between £5m-£100m, across all sectors except financial services.

Paddy Graham from BGF said: “This is BGF’s second significant deal in Northern Ireland following the investment made in Derry-based housebuilder Braidwater in 2015. We are delighted to be providing a funding package alongside Bank of Ireland that will help Brett and his team at RiverRidge to confidently move forward with their company.

“Many businesses have ambitions to grow but lack access to funding, or cannot fully achieve their aims using only bank lending. BGF offers an alternative to this. We now have a proven model and an established infrastructure. We’re focused on finding strong management teams with deep knowledge of their sector, and we are keen to meet ambitious entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland.”

The Bank of Ireland has provided core funding facilities and support to the RiverRidge Group since the initial acquisition in 2011.

Dale Guest, the bank’s Director of Corporate Banking in Northern Ireland, commented: “RiverRidge Recycling is a fast growing company with a strong track record and an ambitious growth strategy. We are proud to support the RiverRidge Group and, alongside the BGF, look forward to continuing our close partnership and supporting the business to achieve its goals. This transaction is the latest in a number of major financings we have completed over the last 18 months for many of Northern Ireland’s leading corporates, and we look forward to continuing this support long into the future.”