Three likely suitors line up for Barna waste as deadline for bids looms

Losses approached €2m last year

Barna, Galway.

Barna, Galway.

Fri, Apr 5, 2013, 06:27

The number of bidders for troubled Barna Waste has been whittled down to a final list of two or three, according to industry sources, who suggested yesterday that some form of deal could be done by the end of the month.

It also emerged yesterday that losses at the Galway-based waste manager were close to €2 million last year, although the business generated over €1 million in cash.

It emerged last month that Grant Thornton has been hired to oversee a sale of Barna Waste, which owed Bank of Scotland Ireland €11 million at the end of 2010.

Up to eight or nine players in the industry are reported to have expressed interest in the business, but that has been narrowed down to what sources yesterday said were up to three “serious” bids.

They will have to make their final offers in the next week with a view to completing a deal two weeks after that deadline. Grant Thornton is known to regard a share sale as the preferred outcome as this is simpler than the other option, an asset sale.

The group employs 300 and collects waste from 30,000 domestic and 3,000 commercial customers in the west of Ireland.

It operations are focused on rural areas and towns, including population centres such as Athlone but not Galway city.

Barna’s operations generate cash, and earnings before interest, tax, and write-offs topped €1 million last year.

However, it has been struggling with bank debt used to fund expansion and has been losing money. Losses last year are said to have been €1.9 million, and they were €2.6 million in 2011. Turnover was stable at around €25 million.