SME and Business

Greenzone complete shareholder buy out to launch its growth plan

An independent waste management business, Greenzone Facilities Management Ltd, has successfully completed a shareholder buy out with support from Virgin Money.

Greenzone specialises in waste brokerage, providing waste/resource management solutions, including recycling and reuse, across the UK. With an increase in certain waste types (e.g. clinical, healthcare and cleaning waste) during the pandemic, the UK waste industry remains a growing sector, currently estimated to be worth £31.6bn annually, and Greenzone aims to grow its market share in the coming years.

As the sector received key worker status during the pandemic, Greenzone was able to stay operational to support its wide range of UK blue chip clients across a variety of industries. Its in-house IT team has designed a bespoke software system, which manages the entire customer waste journey. This offers tailored waste reporting and also provides actionable insights into its customers’ businesses, as well as customer behaviour. The IT team are continually innovating to make the customer experience the best in class. This includes enhancing the functionality of its customer portal, embracing API technology and developing a mobile app to provide improved access for customers.

As part of the shareholder buy out, the business has promoted from within, appointing Louise Taggart as Managing Director. Louise is the company’s first female MD and is a solicitor and Chartered Governance Professional who has more than 20 years’ experience in the waste industry. She spent 15 years at Biffa Waste Services, advising waste operators while working in private practice. She joined Greenzone three years ago as its Legal Director, before being appointed MD on International Women’s Day, in March.

Louise said: “I am incredibly proud of how everyone at Greenzone has risen to the challenge of the past year - we have listened, learned and adapted. I am passionate about the ever-changing waste industry and where there is change, there is opportunity, and the legacy of the pandemic for Greenzone is innovation and bigger thinking. Our people and relationships are the key to our success, so we will be looking to invest in and nurture both.

“Working with Virgin Money has presented an opportunity to really understand where we are and where we are going. While the due diligence process was comprehensive, it was both challenging and supportive, and Virgin Money will be a great partner going forward. I am excited about what the future will hold for Greenzone.”

Greenzone has a turnover of £17m and employs 75 people at its offices in Newark. It recently became a Virgin Money customer and the Shareholder Buy Out transaction was led by Virgin Money SME Cashflow Finance Directors, David Burgess and Martin Aston.

David said: “Greenzone is a strong established business, with a very clear growth strategy, which will increase its market share and expand their footprint across the UK.

“It’s not been an easy year for businesses, with fewer transactions of this nature taking place, however, we were eager to support the transaction. It’s fantastic that the team is now in place and the technology advancements and innovation are going to make a huge difference to this business as it moves ahead with its expansion plans. At Virgin Money, we are here to support our customers to take advantage of opportunities – we are known for our relationship management approach and that tailored service is key when we’re working with businesses across the UK.”

Virgin Money’s legal advice was provided by DWF Law LLP, led by Jenny Crew and financial due diligence was undertaken for Virgin Money by Chris Sellers and Matt Milnes at Mackenzie Spencer.

FRP’s Corporate Finance team advised Greenzone on its Shareholder Buy Out, with James Cooper advising on all corporate finance related matters, including designing and advising on the deal structure, presenting the business to Virgin Money to secure a credit-backed funding offer, and project managing the external due diligence process. Matt Field led on all taxation structuring matters, including obtaining the requisite HMRC tax clearances to facilitate the deal.

Louise added: “James and Matt at FRP successfully managed to navigate the management team through the complexities (and the language) of the world of corporate finance. They quickly grasped the nuances of our business and provided an invaluable interface between us and the advisors and funders.”

James Cooper, Corporate Finance Senior Manager at FRP, said: “Greenzone is steadily growing as a company, and this transaction is an important milestone in the exciting future of the firm. We look forward to seeing the continued growth and success of the business under the leadership of Louise and the new ownership structure.”

Greenzone’s legal advice was provided by Nelson’s Solicitors, led by Duncan Taylor.