Biffa upgrades outlook after robust performance in third lockdown

Waste management company Biffa has upgraded its annual outlook as second-half performance continued to track above expectations amid a less severe than expected impacted from the third lockdown on earnings.

Biffa Poplars landfill, Lichfield Road, Cannock
Biffa Poplars landfill, Lichfield Road, Cannock

Underlying earnings before interest for the latest fiscal year, whilst still materially impacted by the pandemic, is now expected to be well ahead of the the company's previous expectations, in the range of £42 million to £44 million.

The High Wycombe-based company, which operates waste collection services in Cannock, South Staffordshire and Stafford, said group net revenues in the third quarter were 97 per cent of those achieved in the same period last year, while fourth-quarter revenues are estimated to be around 92 per cent of last year’s levels.

Net debt at year-end is expected to be £440 million to £460 million from £426 million in March 2020.

Biffa said phase two of the Seaham plastics recycling plant and the previously announced projects at Washington and Aldridge are progressing to plan, with all three expected to come online in the early part of the new financial year.

With the development projects at Seaham and Washington now nearing completion, the group has decided to further expand its capacity in post-consumer HDPE recycling, with an additional investment of £13 million to be made at its Washington facility.

This additional investment at Washington will increase the group's HDPE milk bottle recycling capacity by a further 50 per cent to 39,000 tonnes of input per annum, equivalent to 1.6 billion bottles a year.

It will also grow its Polymers' business to an annual capacity of 155,000 tonnes and revenue of around £85 million.

The output from this facility will be used in the manufacture of new HDPE milk bottles in the UK, creating 50 jobs.

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