NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Waste Management Inc., the nation's largest trash hauler, which is struggling to overcome accounting problems and turnover among top executives, sold one of its units for $200 million in cash and assumed debt Monday.|
The Houston-based company said the sale is part of its effort to refocus on North American solid waste operations, and that discussions on sales of other units are continuing. Proceeds will be used to reduce debt and make smaller acquisitions that fit into it solid waste network.
The unit being sold is BioGro, which manages more than 5 million wet tons of sludge a year from municipal wastewater treatment centers. The buyer is Synagro Technologies Inc. (SYGR: Research, Estimates), another Houston-based company that is a leader in the field. The split between cash and assumed debt was not disclosed.
Synagro has made a number of acquisitions this year, including Rehbein Inc., the sludge operations of Whiteford Environmental Services, and sludge transportation company Environmental Protection & Improvement Co. Inc., all of which were announced or completed last month.
Waste Management (WMI: Research, Estimates) has completed the sale of operations in Finland, New Zealand and the Netherlands. It also announced plans to sell its nuclear waste services operations to GTS Duratek Inc. (DRTK: Research, Estimates) for $65 million, as well as some non-integrated solid waste operations to Waste Corporation of America (WCA: Research, Estimates) for about $110 million, although those deals have yet to close.
The company announced a $1.23 billion after-tax charge for the third quarter, due to sales and acquisitions, account reconciliation and asset write-downs. It also named Maurice Myers as its sixth chief executive in three years last November.
Shares of Waste Management rose 1/8 to 16-1/8 in early trading Monday, while shares of Synagro gained 1/8 to 3-5/8.