SCOTS entrepreneur Angus MacDonald has sold the Specialist Waste Recycling firm to refuse giant Biffa, with investors gaining a total of £30.8 million from the deal.

Mr MacDonald is understood to be set to receive more than £8m from the sale of the firm, which he started 12 years ago.

He has sold four businesses for about £151m including two publishing firms and then last year ICS Learn, the Glasgow-based online education specialist.

A statement to the London Stock Exchange said the waste firm had been acquired “for a consideration net of cash acquired of around £25.8m”, funded from Biffa’s existing cash and debt facilities.

However, The Herald understands the total payday for SWR shareholders including cash and other elements is £30.8m.

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For the year ended December 31, 2018, SWR, which has a base in Edinburgh, generated revenues of £40.1m, had an underlying operating profit of £3.4m and had gross assets of £15.7m.

The business has a workforce of around 90 people.

Mr MacDonald was a major shareholder among a number of other investors, who were not named at this stage.

The entrepreneur and philanthropist said: “It was a new start-up in 2007, so it has gone from zero to £40m (turnover).

“It has been a good run, and we have had some fantastic clients.

“In Scotland it includes people like Dobbies and Arnold Clark and Aggreko.

“It is a blue chip list of Scottish companies, but about 85 per cent of our revenue is from outside Scotland.”

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He said: “This is my fifth company of consequence, I start up or buy very early stage companies, and

then I hire good people and make sure that the business plan is sound and then raise finance and build the business.

“ICS Learn was much quicker, but typically they take about a decade.

“They are traditional businesses, so not tech, not finance, and they are all about growing high quality repeat revenue business.

“I’ve only got one business left which is called Renewable Parts, which is based on Lochgilphead, and that is showing a lot of promise, and it does spare parts for wind turbines, so it is in the right market and growing very fast, but it has a long way to go.

“In my non-business interests, I founded the Caledonian Challenge, which is what I got the OBE for, then I’m quite a well-known novelist, and I’m opening cinema in Fort William for the town, I’m not making money out of it.”

He said he is also pushing to spread the spirit of entrepreneurship.

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He said: “I go to schools and lecture entrepreneurship and I’m very keen to get young people to build their own businesses which is a real problem in Scotland. We don’t have an entrepreneurial society which is a big issue.”

Mr MacDonald founded Edinburgh Financial Publishing in 1990 which sold for £12m and bought majority stake in Financial News before it sold for £79m.

He also founded the Caledonian Challenge which has raised more than £15m for charity over the last 20 years.

Michael Topham, chief executive Biffa, said “the acquisition of SWR represents a compelling opportunity for Biffa” and “provides further evidence of our ability to identify and execute cash flow enhancing acquisitions”.

He added: “We welcome the staff and customers of SWR to Biffa.”