Other companies

AQUASER

The company was set up in order to manage ancillary services associated with the integrated water cycle, carrying out the recovery and disposal of sludge from biological treatment and waste produced from water treatment, treating effluent and liquid waste and providing the services connected thereto.

In particular, it currently carries out the service of transporting and recovering treatment sludge for the company ASA S.p.A, entrusted with integrated water services in ATO5 Toscana Costa, Acquedotto del Fiora S.p.A. entrusted with integrated water services in ATO6 Ombrone, ACEA Ato2 S.p.A. entrusted with integrated water services in ATO2 Lazio, ACEA Ato5 S.p.A. entrusted with integrated water services in ATO5 Lazio, UMBRA ACQUE S.p.A. entrusted with integrated water services in ATO Umbria no. 1 and SOGEA S.p.A. entrusted with integrated water services in some municipalities in the province of Rieti.

The recovery is mainly carried out by spreading sludge in farming based on clearances, mostly from third parties, and the delivery to composting plants, also mainly owned by third parties.

With the acquisition of the companies Solemme S.p.A. and Kyklos S.r.l., taking place in the previous years, the company started a positioning process on the reference market, by acquiring own plants enabling it to carry out a part of the recycling process itself, and to reduce movements in prices for waste treatment, which are highly volatile and subject to speculation.

The location of the plants is also extremely important from a strategic viewpoint, with one in Lazio, which processes the sludge transferred under the contract with ATO2 and ATO5, and one in Tuscany near Grosseto, which processes the sludge transferred under the contracts with FIORA and ASA. This has resulted in a reduction of transport costs.

Plant ownership strengthens the role of AQUASER as a qualified operator in its own sphere of reference, with a goal of ever increasing freedom from reliance on plants it does not own, with a view to increasing the level of service already provided continuously to its own clients/partners.

Over the previous years, the company has obtained three authorisations for the recycling of sludge in the agricultural sector. Direct ownership of the authorisations for the recycling of sludge in the agricultural sector makes the company more independent from third-party suppliers. Activities are currently underway to obtain additional authorisations for the recovery of sludge in the agricultural sector.

Operations in 2012 confirm the consolidation of the company both in terms of turnover and management yield.

The entry of ISA S.r.l., a company which provides logistics and transportation activities, represents a strategic element of fundamental importance within the group of AQUASER subsidiaries and closely complements the activities performed by the company, a completion of the missing link in the production chain managed by AQUASER and the development of tools acquired through the acquisition of the ACEA RIETI business unit, which took place in previous years.

In 2011, the Board of Directors approved the company's business plan, which identifies two paths of development that the company intends to pursue:

  • consolidation of the perimeter currently managed and expansion of the service to other ACEA group companies that manage the integrated water service;
  • strengthening of owned plants and development of new initiatives in the regions of interest.

As regards the first area, procedures are being defined to transform AQUASER into a joint company of the ACEA Group's integrated water management companies, by having them invest in the company's share capital. As regards the second point, initiatives to expand the KYKLOS and SOLEMME plants and due diligence activities to purchase plants in the Lazio and Tuscany regions are being implemented. In particular, the due diligence activities for SAMACE were completed in respect of the Lazio region.

The operation is expected to be completed in the first few months of 2013.

KYKLOS

The company operates in the waste treatment sector. It produces and markets moulds, soil conditioners and organic fertilisers and carries out its activities in the areas of Nettuno Ferriere in Aprilia on the basis of a Single Authorisation for special non-hazardous waste treatment and recycling plants obtained from the Province of Latina with a maximum capacity of 66,000 tonnes/year.

The purchase by Aquaser has opened direct access to the market for sludge produced by integrated water services in the ACEA Group to the Company; in addition it enabled the creation of positive synergies related to the experience of Aquaser in the Solemme subsidiary, which owns a similar plant. Special attention was and will be given to the development of the synergy resulting from the professional competence and experience of the long-standing shareholders with the potential offered by the ACEA Group.

During the period in question, the company has reinforced its role as a reference plant for the recovery of organic waste in the Provinces of Rome and Latina. In order to strengthen the leadership acquired, on 8 June 2010, the clearance process was started for the adjustment of the current plant and the enlargement of its capacity up to 120,000 tonnes/year through the construction of a biogas plant with recovery of electricity and heat energy.

On 23 June 2011, on request of the company, the province of Latina issued the authorisation in accordance with art. 208 for the implementation of some substantial variations (closure of the maturation facility, covering of the existing bio-filter, construction of the waste treatment plant, installation of the screening plant with deplastification) necessary for streamlining the management process. The changes are proof of the company’s focus and desire to reduce the environmental impact of its activities to a minimum, by optimising the high quality and management standards already ensured. The relative activities have been almost fully completed, and are expected to be finished in the first few months of 2013.

Business conducted in 2012 and the partnership activities, also with support from the parent company AQUASER, with the University of Tuscia allowed the company to further develop and consolidate its new focus in the management of organic waste, organising the production process with optimisation of the fertiliser produced using an innovative approach from the product side rather than the waste side.

SOLEMME

The company operates in the waste recycling sector through the composting of organic waste, in particular sludge from civil waste water treatment.

The purchase by Aquaser during the course of the previous year has opened direct access to the market for sludge produced by integrated water service operators in the ACEA Group to the Company, with special reference to the Tuscany Region. In addition it enables the creation of positive synergies related to the experience built up by Aquaser in the Kyklos subsidiary, which owns a similar plant.

The company is currently operating in a situation of strong local opposition mainly aimed at blocking both the development of the company and the construction of the new plant to recover energy from sludge, but also at fighting against the management of the current composting plant and its upgrading by adding a biogas plant which would make it possible to increase the quantity of sludge treated, with a significant increase in revenues and a resulting limitation of losses.

Precisely in this context the issue raised regarding the administrative penalty inflicted by the Ministry for Agricultural and Forestry Policy in previous years should also be included, in relation to the use of a compost conditioner mixed with a sludge percentage higher than 35% p/p in the production mix.

Pending the definition of that penalty, challenged by the company in terms of both form and substance due to the production process authorised by the resolution of the Province of Grosseto based on which the plant operates, resulted, by own determination, in the reduction of transfers of biological treatment sludge to Solemme beginning at the end of March 2010, in fact cancelling the only plant in the Province authorised to treat sludge, with inevitable repercussions on the company’s economic and financial stability in its first year of regular operations and an increase in sludge treatment costs for the water service operator.

The company has started to transfer new types of waste and has moved to clarify the interpretation of fertiliser production methods at all institutional sites, in order to recommence full production as soon as possible.

In any case, in October 2010 the delivery of biological treatment sludge recommenced in respect of the initial mix percentages with reference to the weight/weight as sampled, leading, however, to a substantial decrease in the volumes of sludge transferable to the plant with respect to the volume set out in the authorisation which also concerned 2012.

The new business plan sets forth the expansion of the current composting plant, which, when operational, has an input capacity of 26,100 tonnes of compostable waste and whose potential is not completely exploitable as of today, in addition to the existing anaerobic treatment plant and the expansion of treatment potential, guaranteeing the management of 15,000 tonnes of organic waste, 25,000 tonnes of biological treatment sludge, 15,000 tonnes of agroindustrial sludge and 15,000 tonnes of green waste, for a total of 70,000 tonnes per year. It is currently expected to begin operating beginning in 2015. A capacity of approximately 0.5 MW of electricity production is also expected at the new plant.

The procedure commenced in August 2010 for the authorisation of the upgrade of the current plant, with an increase in treatment potential to 70,000 tonnes per year and insertion of a biogas plant section with the production of electricity and heat energy. On 31/12/2010, by means of Resolution no. 4044 the Province of Grosseto extended the plant operating authorisation until 7/01/2012.

On 1 June, with resolution 113, the Grosseto Provincial Council excluded the initiative proposed by Solemme Spa from the Environmental Impact Assessment in accordance with art. 49 of Tuscany Regional Law 10/2010; therefore, the procedural process for the issue of the new plant's construction and operating authorisation was re-initiated.

Individual citizens, associations and the Municipality of Monterotondo Marittimo submitted an appeal to the Regional Administrative Court of Tuscany against the provision of exclusion from the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure of 1 June 2011, relating to plant upgrading, notified to the company on 3 and 4 October respectively.

On 14/02/2012, the final services conference of the Provincial Government of Grosseto approved the construction and operations of the plant with a capacity of 70,000 tonnes per year, subject to the implementation of town planning procedures. In fact, the positive conclusion of the services conference for SOLEMME made it possible to carry out the proposed essential plant upgrading, in order to ensure the business continuity of the company, even though SOLEMME is first required to actually conclude procedures relating to approval of the implementation plan.

In this sense, however, the company already started the authorisation procedure in August 2011, as part of authorisation activities pursuant to art. 208 of Legislative Decree no. 152 of 3 April 2006 - Environmental regulations governing plant upgrading as a whole.

In addition, Municipal Administration, which had suspended the review of the implementation plan, re-commenced its own procedure on request of SOLEMME, which had requested the immediate recommencement of the procedure, highlighting the illegitimate suspension.

On 4 December 2012, with resolution no. 3379 the Environmental Service of the Province of Grosseto granted, pursuant to art. 208 of Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 as amended and supplemented, Solemme Spa the authorisation for the substantial variation to upgrade and include an anaerobic digester in the composting and bio-fertilizer production plant, in order to streamline the production process.

On 7 January 2013, with resolution no. 45 the Provincial Government of Grosseto decided to extend Solemme S.p.a.’s authorisation to operate the composting and bio-fertilizer production plant to 14 April 2014.

In light of the above, plant upgrading activities are expected to start in the first few months of 2014.

 

ISA

The Company operates in the services sector and, in particular, in transportation and devising solutions relating to civil and industrial works, including through the use of computerised networks and systems, for global service activities.

The combination of experience matured by the company and the needs of its new shareholder Aquaser S.r.l., which aimed to strengthen its organisation to more independently provide its own services, not only transport but also services relating to other activities associated with and complementary to farmland spreading of sludge, maintenance of the drying beds and automatic discharge services, have led to a significant increase in business activities performed.

With regard to investments, note that the Company currently has its own transport fleet to carry out haulage activities.

In 2012 the Company acquired further vehicles, equipment and truck bodies for sludge transport, which caused an increase in its assets, reinforcing the company’s specialisation in the management and logistics sector.