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Interstate Waste Services acquiring Oak Ridge in regional expansion

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Dive Brief:

  • Interstate Waste Services is acquiring Connecticut-based Oak Ridge Waste & Recycling, with the deal set to close by the end of Q1. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • Oak Ridge provides waste and recycling collection service in western Connecticut as well as New York’s Putnam and Westchester counties. Highlights of the company’s Connecticut portfolio include a rail transfer facility in Danbury, a MRF in Shelton and a transfer station in Norwalk.
  • “Oak Ridge has an established presence in an attractive adjacent market delivering collection and processing services through a dedicated workforce and an entrenched culture that fits exceptionally well with IWS,” said IWS CEO Michael DiBella in a statement.

Dive Insight:

This marks another expansion for New Jersey-based IWS, following a recapitalization last year led by the private equity division of Ares Management and Littlejohn & Co. According to IWS, that deal included syndicated term loan financing which allows the company “significant liquidity and capital to execute on its growth plans.”

IWS is the largest privately-held company in its markets, with an estimated 600 collection vehicles operating in northern and central New Jersey, New York City, and Orange and Rockland counties in New York. The company operates more than two dozen facilities — including MRFs, rail- and truck-based transfer sites and a rail-served landfill in Ohio.

The company is also coming off positive news last month with the award of 15 commercial waste zone contracts in New York City, the highest of any bidder.

IWS was founded in 1999 and evolved through multiple twists and turns before entering its latest phase. The company’s recent expansion can be traced to a 2020 merger that combined IWS, Action Environmental (New York City assets) and Apex Environmental (Ohio assets) in a deal that included funding from Littlejohn. Since then, IWS has acquired at least six New Jersey businesses — including the 2022 purchase of Solterra Recycling Solutions and last year’s purchase of Bridgewater Disposal.

The pending Oak Ridge purchase marks IWS’ first notable geographic expansion since its recapitalization, and is one of the industry’s larger transactions in Connecticut since Casella Waste Systems acquired Willimantic Waste Paper in 2021.

Oak Ridge has an estimated 250 employees that serve approximately 27,000 residential and commercial customer locations. 

“We are excited to combine businesses and secure the resources for further growth in our markets while leveraging IWS’ waste-by-rail network,” said Oak Ridge Managing Partner and CEO John Decker in a statement. “Mike and I have a long professional relationship and our teams have worked together, making this a natural fit.”

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Oak Ridge is currently a portfolio company of Summer Street Capital Partners, which previously invested in IWS and Action. IWS Executive Chairman Brian D’Amico also has a long background at Summer Street.

The Oak Ridge assets have a complex backstory, stemming from the U.S. Marshals Service seizing multiple waste companies as part of a 2006 organized crime case. The late Joe Winters acquired many of these assets from the federal government in 2011. The company operated under the Winters Brothers name for multiple years, during which it saw an infusion of investment. Winters later bought back his former Long Island assets and sold the Connecticut assets to new owners, which announced the Oak Ridge name in 2018.

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