ECONOMY

Construction firms build presence in waste processing

After several years of delays in the privatization of garbage collection and waste processing on the part of the country?s regional authorities, the process is finally beginning to pick up steam, and a number of Greek construction firms that have been keeping an eye on related developments are now putting the final touches to their strategies to enter the sector.

On Wednesday, the Prefecture of Serres in northern Greece launched a competition for the construction and running of a waste processing plant, via a public-private partnership, while similar tenders have been announced in Western Macedonia and the Peloponnese.

The waste processing plant in Serres will have an annual capacity of around 90,000 tons, while the consortium will be contracted for a period of 27 years. The selection of the contractor will be made through the process of competitive dialogue, while it will be bankrolled by private capital and European Union funds.

Over the next few days, meanwhile, a competition is expected to be launched for similar plants in Aetoloacarnania and in Ileia.

The competition for a waste management plant for the Region of the Peloponnese is at a more advanced staged, as five candidates were selected a few days ago for the second leg of the tender process. With the exception of Novaera Hellas, a part of the Kopelouzos Group, the other four candidates are either directly or indirectly involved in construction. These are Terna Energy, a consortium of two members of the Ellaktor Group (Aktor and Helector), J the percentage will increase in stages to 35 percent by 2020. In Greece, this means that more than 2 million tons of waste needs to be processed every year until 2015, a number that will go up to 4.5 million tons after that. Previous studies have shown that by 2015, annual turnover for the entire sector will reach 1 billion euros. It is also estimated that the total investments that will be made in the sector will surpass 2.5 billion euros.

Another positive development is the fact that the tenders for waste processing plants do not place any restrictions on the kind of technology that needs to be used, leaving investors free to present their own proposals — with the collaboration of specialized foreign companies.

As the demand for construction projects in Greece has slumped in recent years, local firms active in the sector have been preparing their strategy for entry into this new lucrative sector for some time. Intrakat has already set up a consortium with French group Suez Environment, one of the top companies in solid waste management in the world with 50 units worldwide that process more than 7 million tons of waste a year. Ellaktor is moving through its subsidiary Helector, which has already successfully applied German Herhof technology and recently bought up Loock biogas technology as well. Similarly, Lamda Development has also created a subsidiary to process food waste.