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Report slams GFL Environmental

GFL (Green for Life) Environmental, a Canadian-based waste management company which recently became a parent company of the Green Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility, experienced some heavy scrutiny recently after New York hedge fund Spruce Point Capital published a financial report declaring the company’s stock “worthless.”

In an investment research report published Tuesday, Aug. 18, Spruce Point accused GFL CEO Patrick Dovigi of obfuscating connections to “organized crime” by scrubbing his links to various companies and individuals tied to fraud and legal trouble, including his previous position with NGTV, a business “whose financials were overseen by an individual associated with Simon Marketing, the company involved in the mob-linked McDonald’s Monopoly scandal.”

In early January, Green Ridge announced GFL Environmental was purchasing County Waste of Virginia, the company which at the time owned the Green Ridge landfill to be built in Cumberland County.

In its report published Tuesday, Aug. 18, Spruce Point called GFL an “aggressive roll-up” that overpays for assets and failed three times to launch its initial public offering on the stock market, stating the business had acquired 143 companies since 2007.

“In one case, GFL bought a company that itself acquired 60 companies, making GFL a roll-up of roll-ups,” the report said.

Spruce Point also argued GFL’s debt is understated and criticized Dovigi’s use of margin loans tied to the value of GFL’s stock. The hedge fund also hypothesized a risk of stock collapse could motivate GFL’s audit committee to fail to sign off on the waste management company’s financials.

Tuesday, Aug. 25, GFL repudiated Spruce Point’s 107-page report, with Dino Chiesa, lead independent director of the board of GFL, calling the allegations “deeply flawed and singularly meant to inflict damage to the company’s business, its leadership and its shareholders.”

Jay Smith, spokesperson for Green Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility, had similar feelings toward the report.

“It’s important to remember that Spruce Point gets a financial benefit if GFL stock goes down, so I’d be leery of anything that they say about the company,” Smith wrote. “Don’t be fooled; they are not an objective third party.”

Goldman Sachs upgraded GFL from neutral to buy on August 19.

“Unfortunately, these types of reports based on rumors and conjecture are becoming more and more common as even established, well-managed companies are becoming the victims of such tactics, as was the case with General Electric last year,” Smith said.

GFL’s stock initially fell from $21.23 per share on August 17 to $18.41 August 19 on news of Spruce Point’s report. The stock recovered to $19.36 August 20 before closing at  $18.57 Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Cumberland County Landfill Alert (CCLA) group spokesperson Betty Rankin said Wednesday, Aug. 26, after reading Spruce Point’s report and GFL’s subsequent response, CCLA still has concerns with management of the proposed landfill project at all levels.

Cumberland County Administrator Don Unmussig said Tuesday, Aug. 25 he will rely on the Department of Environmental Quality to validate the report during its permit review process for the landfill.

To download a full copy of the report visit https://www.sprucepointcap.com/gfl-environmental-inc/.