Germany’s Schwarz Group has taken a further step to expand its international recycling activities with the purchase of Austrian plastics recycler Sky Plastic Group AG. The acquisition of 100 per cent of the recycler via the Schwarz subsidiary GreenCycle would be effective retroactively to the beginning of this year, said the Neckarsulm-based firm, which is Europe’s largest retailer and the parent company of discounter Lidl and supermarket chain Kaufland. Austria’s Federal Competition Authority granted approval for the deal in late September. There had been no requests for an examination of the transaction, it said.
The recycling company based in Haimburg in Carinthia had been up for sale for some time. Its majority owner was Cudos Capital AG & Co KG. The Vienna-based investment firm, which was co-founded by investor Alon Shklarek and former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, held nearly 68 per cent of the plastics recycling company, according to the most recently released information. The parties agreed not to disclose the purchase price. There was widespread industry speculation about the price, with estimates ranging from €30-40m.
Sky Plastic processes PE, PP and PS in Austria at its subsidiary Sky Plastic Recycling & Commerce as well as in Italy at its subsidiary Sky Max, located in Fonte. A large share of the volumes consist of post-consumer plastic packaging that Sky Plastic and Sky Max get from national recovery systems, such as ARA in Austria and Corepla in Italy.
In Austria, the group has around 110 employees and capacity to recycle nearly 80,000 tonnes of plastics per year. In Italy, the firm can process around 25,000 tonnes a year. Both facilities are certified according to the Eucertplast standard. GreenCycle’s managing director Dietmar Böhm said that all of the roughly 150 employees of Sky Plastic Group would be retained.
The acquisition of Sky Plastic is the first larger deal for the Schwarz Group in the recycling sector since it purchased the German waste management group Tönsmeier last year. The transaction complements the group’s “Reset Plastic” strategy, which focuses on preventing, reducing and recycling plastic waste.
Schwarz Group board member Gerd Chrzanowski said that with Lidl and Kaufland, its production sites and the waste management and recycling service providers GreenCycle and PreZero the group was in a better position than any of its European retail rivals to implement impactful initiatives.