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Trash giant pursues stake in local firm

WASTE Management Inc, the biggest trash hauler in the United States, is in talks to buy a stake in Shanghai Environment Group Co as part of a plan to enter the Chinese market.

"As the largest and leading service provider in North America, we want to be the leading company in the world," Chief Executive Officer David Steiner said in Shanghai. "And you cannot be a leading company in the world without presence in China."

The company, whose strategy is to form partnerships with leading local players, plans to form a joint venture with Shanghai Environment Group, taking a minority stake, he said.

Shanghai Environment, a wholly owned subsidiary of state-controlled Shanghai Chengtou Holding Co, is focused on transportation, incineration, power generation and operating household-garbage landfills.

Shanghai-listed Chengtou has put a 40 percent stake in Shanghai Environment up for sale for 920 million yuan (US$135 million). It aims to bring in a strategic investor to boost the unit's competitiveness.

Houston-based Waste Management said 100 waste-to-energy plants could be built in China over the next five years amid state efforts to create a greener economy and maintain sustainable growth.

China is set to exceed the US to become the world's largest waste management market over the next couple of years, Steiner said.

Companies such as Waste Management generate energy by incinerating garbage and channeling landfill gas.

The firm reported US$13.4 billion in revenue last year.


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