Private Equity Company Buys Up Solid Waste Management Firms in Egypt

Cairo is a city with 18 million people. Most do not have a way to remove their trash. Garbage Dreams, a new film (see above), explores Zabbaleen and how they recycle garbage in Cairo. A buy-out of two waste-management firms could make the waste management business run more effectively, but impact the trade done on the streets by Zabbaleen.

It’s good to see some clean technology news being generated by other Middle East North Africa (MENA) region countries other than Israel. According to the Emirates Business newspaper, Cairo-based Citadel Capital, a leading private equity firm in the Mena region, announced that it has acquired a controlling stake in two Egypt companies dealing with solid waste management.

The two companies are the Egyptian Company for Solid Waste Recycling (Ecaru), which started in 1999 for solid waste sorting and recycling, and the Engineering Tasks Group (Entrag). As part of Citadel the two companies will be grouped as a single holding company: Entag Holding. Combined, the two companies have more than 1,500 employees.

“The solid waste management sector is under-developed across the region, with a limited number of large companies operating and much of the waste not being properly treated. There is ample room for geographic expansion and vertical integration, including expansion into waste-based industries,” said Marwan Elaraby, Managing Director of Citadel Capital in a press release.

“Ecaru is also on the cutting edge of carbon credits trading,” said Citadel Capital Principal Karim Ragab, explaining that the company became one of the first Egyptian organisations to sign a greenhouse gas emission reduction purchase agreement with the World Bank in the summer of 2008, agreeing to sell 325,480 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emission reductions to the Carbon Fund for Europe.

According to, ECARU collects and processes more than 500,000 tons per year of agricultural solid waste, with a focus on converting rice straw into compost. ECARU has also pioneered a technology which makes animal feed and it is researching on how to make medium-density fiber board, fuel pellets, and paper from rice straw.

ECARU also specializes in municipal and agricultural solid waste management. The company has a contract with the city of Cairo to process up to 1,500 tons of its municipal waste per day. From it the company produces compost and extracts recyclables.

Citadel has $8.3 billion in investments, and did not disclose the terms of the latest deal. Its focus areas include energy, cement, agribusines and transportation. It is looking for investments in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, and Africa.

Read on to learn how some of Cairo’s 18 million people are making the most out of garbage (film review for Garbage Dreams on Grist). We’d like to follow up to know more how globalization, and waste management firms are affecting the life and trade of the Zabbaleen, who were deeply affected by the swine flu cull, we reported earlier.

::Emirates Business via

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