averda’, a leading environmental services company, has announced its expansion into the GCC market with its first acquisition in the United Arab Emirates. The acquisition of Al Ghadeer Waste Collections Company (GWC), a Sharjah-based waste management company, marks a significant step for the company in its plans to become the premier private environmental services provider in the MENA region.
Since 1968, ‘averda’ has developed a strong reputation throughout Lebanon for its reliable and efficient operations. Now the company plans to expand its regional presence with its investment in countries such as Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Morocco and Algeria.
GWC provides municipal solid waste collection and transportation for the Sharjah Industrial Areas, free zones, airports, aeaports and other public and private organizations. Founded in 2006, it has grown from a start-up to its current presence in Sharjah with a continuously growing workforce. Now one of the most respected solid waste management service suppliers in its areas of operations, GWC enjoys excellent relationships with its long list of customers both large and small. As a result of this acquisition, GWC can now tap into averda’s considerable environmental and technical know-how to further enhance its recovery practices.
“We’re delighted with GWC’s track record and it’s a very good fit for us,” says ‘averda’ CEO Malek Sukkar. “Like ‘averda’, GWC places as much emphasis on sorting and recovering recyclables as on waste collection and transportation. With this new addition to our family, ‘averda’ is able to service the UAE market directly. Additionally, GWC’s location in Sharjah makes it an ideal foothold for averda’s regional expansion.”
Yet challenges lie ahead. He continues, “Sharjah, like other areas in the region, faces growing waste volumes both residential and commercial. Recycling is still in its infancy, due to low incentives and a drop in the value of recyclables since late 2008. ‘averda’ sees these areas as opportunities for substantial growth.”
“As GWC expands,” continues Mr Sukkar, “we will elevate its practices to averda’s corporate standards. To this end, we have already sourced and relocated some of averda’s best talent to GWC.”
Taking on the role of GWC’s Managing Director is Alan Thomson, an experienced general manager who moved to Dubai from Scotland where he was responsible for the waste management performance at BP/INEOS Grangemouth, the second largest refinery and petrochemicals complex in Europe.
“We’re planning to expand GWC’s service portfolio by introducing liquid waste collection, transportation and treatment,” says Mr Thomson. “We’re also looking at niche markets, such as electronic waste and clinical waste disposal.”
GWC may expand geographically, too. Its current sphere of operations covers all of Sharjah City with the exception of three eastern provinces.
“We recognize the need for innovative environmental solutions and see great potential across the region,” says Mr Sukkar. “averda started as a local company in Lebanon and we take that mindset into each new territory, learning about each community’s culture and its needs. When you combine this approach with our adherence to the strictest international standards,’ he concludes, ‘you have a powerful engine that drives us in any eventuality.”
As ‘averda’ seeks to spread its success in Lebanon across the MENA region, Malek Sukkar is clearly proud of how far ‘averda’ has come and confident of the road ahead.
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