Biffa has grown revenue and underlying profits over the last five years. Our record stems from a combination of market-share gains, investment in new products and services and pricing discipline. Net revenue growth has averaged 8.5% over the last five years;
investments in new products and services. During the year, these include the successful opening of Biffa Polymers’ second food-grade recycled HDPE (rHDPE) plant to provide material for milk container production, and the opening of new rail hubs for the transfer and disposal of inactive waste;
profitable acquisitions. During the year seven were completed, for a total investment of £47.1m (see below); and
cost discipline and delivering operational initiatives. Underlying Operating Profit and EBITDA margins have either grown or been maintained over the five-year period.
Biffa’s business, and in particular its I&C platform, operates in a fragmented marketplace, where there is a compelling opportunity for consolidation. Increased regulation, a more complex service offer to more demanding customers, and the need for secure access to disposal outlets mean that scale is more critical than ever.
Biffa has become a natural consolidator in this space, completing 30 acquisitions over five years for a total outlay of £103.4m. In all cases, acquisitions have been rebranded and integrated fully into Biffa’s operational network and systems.
Cost savings have been made by the removal of duplicate routes and locations, bringing sub-contracted services in-house, lower disposal costs, better procurement, and back office and support service efficiencies. All acquisitions, once fully integrated, have been earnings accretive.
Recycling: recycling levels have grown significantly over time, but have recently plateaued. Finding stable outlets for recycled materials in a complex global market can be challenging and recycled commodity prices are volatile. Regulation and industry investment are needed to stimulate further growth in recycling. With its scale and experience, Biffa is well placed to help the UK to meet future targets in this space.
Energy from waste: there remains a significant deficit of infrastructure to safely process, and generate low carbon energy from waste that cannot be recycled. Biffa is in a uniquely strong position due to its control of waste flows, and partnership with the leading EfW operator Covanta, to help unlock these much needed infrastructure projects.
Landfill: for waste that cannot be recycled or treated for energy recovery, landfill will remain an essential solution. Biffa is a long-established operator in this space. Whilst it is rightly no longer at the centre of our strategy for dealing with waste, it remains a key underpinning component of the UK’s waste management infrastructure. Through Biffa’s existing portfolio of sites, experience of developing new sites and our rail hubs, we are well placed to continue to provide this much needed service.
A first-class reputation for service delivery and experience in expanding and developing its services to meet changing customer demands have helped Biffa both win and retain customers while improving operational efficiencies. Biffa has been at the centre of the transformation of the waste sector over the past two decades, successfully introducing new services on a national scale to enable its customers to increase recycling and energy recovery and maximise the diversion of waste materials from landfill.
The Group’s strong record of service delivery, together with its national presence and history, has led to the Biffa brand becoming one of the most highly recognisable in the UK waste industry and a key asset for the Group. Strong brand recognition plays a significant role in the Group’s success, in helping to attract and retain both customers and employees.
Biffa’s people are one of its key assets, and the Group works to ensure that it provides a safe and engaging working environment for its employees. Strong employee engagement and providing a safe work environment are important factors in both attracting and retaining staff, and are particularly significant given Biffa’s reliance on a large workforce for the delivery of its services.
Biffa’s Board and Group Executive Team have a wealth of experience in the waste industry. This allows them to guide the business from a position of knowledge and experience. Excellent operational performance and a track record of delivery are their hallmark, and together with their ability to identify and execute strategic investment opportunities, such as acquisitions, and their embracing of the opportunities in EfW. Biffa is more than prepared for the inevitable challenges and opportunities that await us.