Buyout group Waterland seeks to sell Dutch waste management group Attero for €1 billion

Sources have said that Dutch buyout group Waterland Private Equity Investments B.V. has initiated talks to sell the nation's waste management group Attero for about €1 billion. Attero processes 40% of Dutch household waste and describes itself as a leading player in creating energy from waste.

Several Chinese firms have approached Waterland for the takeover as they vie for technology to tackle the China’s pollution problems.

The sources said that Waterland bought Attero for only €170 million in 2013. Waterland has received inquiries from some who bid in the sale of Germany’s Energy from Waste (EEW) earlier in 2016, added the sources.

Waterland is working with Morgan Stanley and is targeting a broad range of strategic buyers and financial investors, the sources said.

Germany’s EEW as well as Cheung Kong Infrastructure are likely to bid for Attero. Belgium’s Indaver and France’s Suez Environnement may also consider bids, the sources said. The asset is also being marketed to Beijing Capital and China Tianying, which were outbid in the EEW auction.

One of the sources said that the initial round of bids happened at the end of August and final bids are expected by early October.

China has set a target to spend about $16 billion between 2013 and 2016 to improve sewage disposal and waste treatment as the government struggles to process the enormous amounts of waste the nation generates.

Attero posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of €133 million on sales of €339 million in 2015. Attero had recently warned that its profitability may come under pressure as several of its 20-year contracts are expiring in 2016 and 2017. Replacement contracts “will have much lower processing tariffs than the current ones,” said Attero.

The sources said that Waterland is currently seeking a valuation of 9-10 times core earnings for Attero.


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