Large waste companies spent nearly $2B on acquisitions through Q2 (2024)

The industry’s top publicly traded companies spent an estimated $1.98 billion on transactions in the U.S. and Canada through the first half of 2023, continuing a multiyear trend of big spending on solid waste and recycling acquisitions.

This figure includes spending reported by WM, Republic Services, Waste Connections, GFL Environmental and Casella Waste Systems. Much of the spending in the first half of the year was driven by other companies purchasing divested assets from GFL.Catch up on the details for each company as well as what executives said about further 2023 activity during recent quarterly earnings calls.

Q2 2023 Spend*H1 SpendH1 Annualized Revenue Acquired
WM$84M$118M$111M
Republic Services$703.2M$927.3MNot officially reported
Waste Connections$68.5M$213.2MNot officially reported
GFL Environmental**$16M$178.4M$35.9M
Casella Waste Systems$547.3M$547.6M$195M

*Spending totals are net of cash acquired.

**GFL figures converted from Canadian to U.S. dollars for comparison purposes, based on Aug. 10 exchange rate.

Current outlooks

WM

WM continues to take a targeted approach to acquisitions, with no notable deals announced for Q2 aside from its purchase of GFL Environmental’s hauling assets in Nashville, Tennessee.

CEO Jim Fish said multiples remain too high in his view, citing an example of 15x, noting that "anything in double digits seems to not make sense” compared to the expected return on investment for recycling and renewable natural gas projects.

Fish said there has been an uptick in businesses looking to sell for multiple reasons.“I think for us, it's a double-edged sword. We want to make sure we do have a nice pipeline of M&A opportunities, but we don't want to fall into the trap of paying way up for these. And so we'll be patient when it comes to those,” he said.

Republic Services

Republic’s spending has focused on solid waste and recycling deals so far in the year, including the June purchase of GFL’s assets in Colorado and New Mexico. CEO Jon Vander Ark said he anticipates surpassing $1 billion in spending for the year.

Aside from certain geographic considerations, Vander Ark said there’s no limitations to possible acquisitions going forward. “We're mindful of not loading up a specific geography, right, if they've done a big deal. We want to make sure that they can digest that and get that operational. But we've got a good pipeline of deals of all sizes, and we look forward to a strong second half and then into 2024 as well.”

Waste Connections

The company purchased seven unspecified solid waste and recycling businesses, along with one E&P landfill, during the first half of this year. Following Q2, Waste Connections also purchased Arrowhead Environmental Partners for an undisclosed amount. As of last week, including that deal, the company said it had acquired an estimated $160 million in annualized revenue year to date.

CEO Ron Mittelstaedt said “dialogue remains very active with a robust pipeline” of solid waste deals, some of which could close later this year. The Arrowhead purchase, which includes a rail-served landfill in Alabama and multiple rail transfer stations, is also expected to create new expansion opportunities. Previously volumes in states such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island largely weren’t being internalized, but that will change following this deal.Citing that example, Mittelstaedt said that within those states and surrounding ones,including some areas the company isn’t currently in, “there's more M&A opportunity today than there was a few days ago.”

GFL Environmental

The Canada-based company completed the acquisition of 16 small businesses through the end of Q2, 13 of which are focused on solid waste. This included four acquisitions during Q2. While GFL had primarily been focused on streamlining its portfolio through divestitures, following a period of rapid growth through acquisitions, that process is now complete.

“...Given the enhanced strength of our balance sheet and free cash flow profile, we will again focus on our M&A strategy of densifying our existing footprint in North America,” said CEO Patrick Dovigi, adding later that “we have some wonderful acquisition opportunities that will be very compelling for us to execute on in the back half of this year.”

Casella Waste Systems

The Vermont-based company reported an active period for spending, including the sizable purchase of GFL’s assets in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, as well as a smaller tuck-in purchase of Triple T Trucking in Vermont. It also recently announced the pending acquisition of , which could contribute another $70 million in annualized revenue.

CEO John Casella said the company sees a pipeline worth approximately $500 million in annualized revenues in the Northeast, and another $400 million in potential revenue in its new Mid-Atlantic region. President and CFO Ned Coletta said that after the Twin Bridges deal closes “we will still have significant liquidity to support our M&A pipeline.”

Large waste companies spent nearly $2B on acquisitions through Q2 (2024)
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