1. novago 2

The sale of Novago by Abris Capital Partners to China Everbright International (a Chinese, Hong Kong listed waste recycling business) was a groundbreaking transaction, as it represented the largest single Chinese investment made in Poland to date, and the largest acquisition in the environmental treatment industry in Central & Eastern Europe.

Investor: Abris Capital Partners

Industry: Waste management

Year of investment: 2013

Year of exit: 2016



Business – key features

  • Poland's largest municipal waste management company
  • Core business activities include municipal waste treatment, production of alternative fuel, landfill of waste, and production of energy from biogas
  • Operator of 6 waste management plants in 4 provinces in Poland

Business model focused on:

  • Mass reduction of the received waste
  • Innovative mechanical processing and proprietary biological treatment solutions combined with methane-fired CHPs
  • Production of high calorific alternative fuel RDF
  • Own landfills, sufficient for almost 100 years of operations
  • Diversified revenue mix, highly favorable cost structures and industry leading operating margins


wykres novago


Main objectives of the funding

Investment rationale

  • New legal framework: implementation of the EU directives into Polish law changing completely waste management and processing system in Poland
  • Circular Economy: new waste management business model required, reducing waste quantities sent to landfills and increased materials recycling processes
  • Supportive macro trends: expected increase of municipal waste generation in Poland driven predominantly by GDP and consumption growth converging towards EU levels
  • Novago’s competitive advantage: strong strategic position in a changing regulatory environment
  • Industry consolidation: building a country-wide presence and benefit from the effect of scale
  • Exit opportunity: global players screening Polish market, given its size, potential and new waste law in force
  • Well-regarded entrepreneur: strong founder with hands-on approach and good industry knowledge to drive business growth

Achievements of the company

  • Completed investment program allowing to secure a strategic position on the changing waste management market
  • Developed cost-effective, proprietary technology for waste processing and production of high quality Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF)
  • Built a landfill bank capable of providing the company with 100-year capacity at current production levels, all prepared to new EU standards
  • Reached double digit growth – EBITDA 50%, Volumes 47% (CAGR 2012-2016)
  • Quadrupling processed volumes from 200k tonnes to over 1 million tonnes
  • Achieved revenue diversification – managed to diversify its revenues from single source, to: gate fee, alternative fuel sales, electricity and energy sales, services at Exit.
  • Expanded employees to > 400 from 150 at Entry
  • Increased market share significantly – from <2% to 8% in Poland

(CAGR 2012-2016)

(CAGR 2012-2016)

(CAGR 2012-2016)

Value added by PE/VC fund

Value creation

  • Built undisputed market leader: the most innovative player in the waste management and energy recovery sectors, with sufficient scale to be of interest to international strategic buyers
  • Re-focused group strategy: built a fully integrated Waste-to-Energy group
  • Created new development options: through additional funding from Abris and EU grants
  • Expanded geographical reach: from 2 locations to 6, in 4 provinces of Poland
  • Introduced new corporate standards: new COO & CFO, compliance, professionalized finance, IT, governance standards, reporting and quality
  • Signed long-term off-take contracts: for alternative fuel (RDF) with cement groups in Poland (the only contracts in the country)
  • Executed bolt-on acquisitions: build scale and spread geographic footprint
  • Introduced new corporate brand: new name, logo, signage and website

Corporate social responsibility and ESG

  • Novago technology has been developed in close cooperation between the company, the University of Olsztyn and Warsaw Polytechnic; this cooperation has generated an R&D project which provided Novago to plan and develop a Technology Park in Różanki. The project has obtained confirmation of EU financial support. The Technology Park will further support research on the development of waste to energy technology, as well as provide training and laboratory services.
  • Novago has provided financial support for local schools and universities – including grant donations and cooperation on R&D projects, including scholarship for Exceptional Students
  • Support for local communities – road construction and sidewalk installation to increase the safety of citizens and children commuting to schools
  • Support for local fire brigades – the company has made both financial donations for the purchase of new equipment and joint training exercises
  • Support for local churches and other charitable causes
  • Support for local government bodies including for the 700 years anniversary of City of Znin and the annual re-enactment of the first Polish battle of World War II in Mława (repeated for the last 6 years)
  • Organizational support and funding of an annual conference regarding the latest development trends in the waste industry, including new technology, regulations and challenges. The conference involves participants coming from local government, universities, industry experts and industry players.