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Phone recyling firm Redeem acquires rival

AMBITIOUS electronic device recycler Redeem Holdings has bought rival Eazyfone, for an undisclosed sum.

Redeem, which has its headquarters in Bathgate, West Lothian, said the deal will give it greater processing capacity as well as adding the consumer facing brand Envirofone, the trading name Eazyfone uses, to its portfolio.

Since a management buy-in three years ago Redeem has acquired companies such as Staffordshire based business-to-business recycler Environmental Mobile Control.

Last year the Scottish business, founded in 1999 and now headed by ex-Sony Ericsson executive Claes Svensson, snapped up UPR Global to give it sites in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Eazyfone has its main facility in Macclesfield and employs around 50 staff there. It also has consumer facing sites in Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Although staying tight-lipped over the sum paid Redeem, which has 150 of its 250-strong workforce in Scotland, said the acquisition should add in the region of £15 million to annual turnover.

It indicated it was reviewing the Eazyfone business to see where it may be able to make savings but the intention was to grow the existing operation.

A spokesman for Redeem, which recycles devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and sat-navs, said: "It is a positive move as Envirofone bring real innovation to the UK consumer market.

"They are one of two key big players in the direct to consumer market, [along with] Mazuma, so it is a step into that for Redeem.

"They also have a first class processing facility. What we are seeing with our clients is the volume projections for Redeem next year are doubling so Envirofone gives us extra capacity to supplement our other clients around the world."

The Envirofone facilities will allow for more refurbishment and repair of devices.

The Redeem spokesman said: "It allows us to increase our capacity to refurbish devices and rather than just sending it to a low value market, in Asia for example, we can look to add value. So we can add parts or repair them and sell them back into other markets for a better price and ultimately extend the product life cycle."

Redeem's most recent annual accounts show turnover from continuing operations going from £28.8m to £34.8m in the 12 months to March 31, 2012. A pre-tax loss of £1.2m, compared to profit of more than £280,000, was attributed to major investment and repositioning of the business which included the disposal of its printer cartridge recycling arm.

As well as its European bases Redeem has offices in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

The business was initially founded by Jamie Rae and David McCabe but the pair sold their shareholdings in 2011 with the deal described as being worth "several million" at the time.

Industry veterans Curt Hopkins and Pete Petrondas were behind that deal but left in the middle of 2012 with chairman Trevor Bayley taking charge.

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