Belfast Telegraph

Co Londonderry recycling firm RiverRidge is given a £10m cash injection by investment fund

By Margaret Canning

A waste management company based in Co Londonderry has secured a £10m cash fillip from a major equity fund.

RiverRidge Recycling, which has four sites around Northern Ireland, is the second firm here to secure an investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF).

The company started out after managing director Brett Ross bought a small skip hire and landfill site five years ago.

He's since grown it into the province's biggest independent waste management firm, with a workforce of 200. It's also the main developer of the new energy from waste facility at Bombardier's C Series wing facility in east Belfast.

RiverRidge said the cash - thought to be one of the biggest single equity investments here in recent years - would fund its future growth and the development of its infrastructure.

It's also been buoyed by a new lending package from Bank of Ireland.

As part of the deal with BGF, Jim Meredith - the chairman of hazardous waste management firm Augean plc - will join as non-executive chairman.

And BGF investor and Belfast native Paddy Graham will also join the board of RiverRidge.

Mr Ross said: "As a company we have worked tremendously hard over the past five years to allow us to become the market leader in Northern Ireland. It is therefore a significant endorsement of this effort to be able to announce the investment by BGF into our group.

"We are looking forward to further growing the RiverRidge Group in the coming years and believe we have found partners, in both BGF and Bank of Ireland, who not only are best placed to support this progression, but also understand the strategy thoroughly."

The UK fund was set up in 2011 to provide cash to small and medium-sized firms as an alternative to, or alongside, bank debt. It's now a minority partner in more than 140 companies - and RiverRidge is now following in the footsteps of Co Derry building firm Braidwater in securing its support.

Mr Graham said he did not believe the activity of the fund was being slowed by the Brexit vote. "We have in fact concluded funding of £100m since the referendum across 19 businesses. Yes, there is uncertainty, but now is not the time for businesses to slow up and put the brakes on. It's about continuing to invest and grow business and the UK economy."

Belfast Telegraph