Dubai’s Averda said to be in Better World SPAC merger talks
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Dubai’s Averda said to be in Better World SPAC merger talks

Dubai’s Averda said to be in Better World SPAC merger talks

Dubai-based provider of waste-disposal services Averda is in talks to go public through a merger with Better World Acquisition Corp., a blank-check firm, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in what would be a rare deal involving a US-listed SPAC and a Middle Eastern company. The transaction’s size couldn’t immediately be learned. A…

Dubai-based provider of waste-disposal services Averda is in talks to go public through a merger with Better World Acquisition Corp., a blank-check firm, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in what would be a rare deal involving a US-listed SPAC and a Middle Eastern company.

The transaction’s size couldn’t immediately be learned. A deal, if reached, could be announced in coming weeks, one of the people said.

Averda representatives and a Better World spokesperson declined to comment.

Led by chief executive officer Malek Sukkar, Averda is one of the largest waste management firms in the Middle East and Africa. The privately owned business has in the past considered an intial public offering and sold a 33 per cent stake to Bahrain-based private equity firm Growthgate Capital in 2008.

While transactions involving special purpose acquisition companies have exploded in popularity in recent years, the Middle East has so far seen only a handful of such deals. Abu Dhabi-based music-streaming service Anghami and Swvl, a provider of mass transit solutions, announced plans last year to list on Nasdaq through mergers with SPACs.

With operations from South Africa to India, Averda has more than 60,000 clients in sectors including oil and gas, automotive and hospitality, its website shows. Its services include street cleaning, bin collection and disposal of hazardous and household waste. Averda says its mission is to treat, recover and recycle more than 80 per cent of the waste it processes through sustainable methods.

Better World, led by CEO Rosemary Ripley, raised about $126m in a November 2020 initial public offering to focus on a transaction in “healthy living industries” that benefit from strong environmental, social and governance profiles.

A year later, the SPAC said its sponsor had deposited fresh cash into its trust account to extend the date by which it has to complete a combination to February 17, 2022, from November 17, 2021. That was the first of two three-month extensions permitted under the SPAC’s governing documents.

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