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Entrepreneur Simon Howie recycles and cleans up

Successful start-ups that sell themselves quickly to large multinationals are not confined to the world of Web 2.0 and software.

Shore Recycling was founded by Simon Howie in 2002. Howie already had a successful wholesale butchery business but he saw the potential of recycling of electronic products. It is one of the fastest-growing waste categories – the British throw away approximately 1.8m tonnes of this stuff every year.

Two colleagues of Howie’s – Malcolm Todd and Tom Liddell – have grown the business very effectively. Today, with sites in Perth, Manchester and St Helen’s, Shore handles over 400,000 fridges per year, 300,000 televisions and monitors as well as 2,000 tonnes of other electrical scrap. It has pretty much secured all of the 32 Scottish local authorities as customers.

Shore has been a massive beneficiary of the UK government’s recent implementation of the European Union’s directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment – the so-called WEEE directive.

Now Shore Recycling has proved too irresistible a target for Viridor, the waste management arm of Pennon Group, and has been sold for £23m in cash.

Howie told Simon Bain at The Herald:

"Doing a deal with a trade operator is doubly sweet for me as the VC deal which was on the table last year fell over due to them taking cold feet at the last minute, a bit like refusing to buy a Ferrari because it has a paint chip. They were extremely risk averse and showed little foresight or business acumen. Bravo to Viridor for taking the plunge."

According to The Scotsman, Howie’s share of the cash payment will be just over £17m.


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