Highstar in bid to own Veolia US unit

Highly active Highstar Capital is in the running to acquire a US solid waste management arm that Veolia put on the block. The company is valued at $2bn.

Highstar Capital is in contention to become owner of Veolia ES Solid Waste, the US solid waste management unit of Paris-headquartered Veolia Environment.

Highstar, a private equity firm located in Houston and New York, is dedicated to investing in infrastructure, including waste management. The company is owner of Advanced Disposal Services and Integrated Waste Services, both based on the East Coast. Highstar, manager to $5.5 billion, is founded by public-private partnership (PPP) maven Christopher H. Lee.

Veolia ES Solid Waste, based in Wisconsin, is considered a major US waste collector and landfill operator, and is said to be worth $2 billion.

On the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Veolia Environment is trading at $11.26 a share, well below its 52-week high, $26.31. Veolia, the largest water and wastewater management worldwide, is hoping to restructure in order to reduce debt, and has hired investment bank Credit Suisse Group to help with a company-wide reorganization.

A voicemail message left for Jim Timmins, Highstar head of investor relations, was not returned.

In addition to pursuing a waste management asset in Veolia ES Solid Waste, Highstar Capital is in the middle of a bid to become the private operator of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico.