In December 2005, STAR, together with management, acquired a majority stake in GSES, a waste management company, from a consortium of investors. GSES owns and operates one of Europe’s leading underground waste facilities from a salt mine in Sondershausen, Germany.
Salt mines are ideal repositories for safe storage of a variety of waste types due to the unique geology of salt rock formations. This niche area of the waste market is growing in importance as EU and member state regulations increasingly restrict access to surface landfills.
At the time of acquisition, GSES handled c. 230,000 tonnes of hazardous waste per annum. The company also mined rock salt, sold primarily for highway de-icing. STAR backed the existing management team, and supported the company with additional capital investment to increase capacity and the breadth of services offered. Salt production capacity, for example, was expanded from 40kt in 2007 to 300kt in 2012.
GSES was sold to Schmidt Kraz & Co. (a diversified group operating predominantly within the mining/resources sector) in August 2013.