Vertex Sells Heartland Rerefinery


Vertex Sells Heartland Rerefinery
A view at night of Vertex Energy's Heartland rerefinery in Columbus, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Vertex Energy

Vertex Energy Inc. announced today that it has again reached an agreement to sell its Heartland used motor oil collection and recycling business – this time to GFL Environmental, a waste management company, for $90 million.

The deal was announced a year and six days after Vertex and Clean Harbors backed out of a June 2021 agreement for Clean Harbors – parent of rerefiner Safety-Kleen – to buy those same operations plus a Louisiana refinery that does not make base oil.

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The companies killed that deal because of scrutiny by the United States Federal Trade Commission. Safety-Kleen is by far the largest producer in the country of rerefined base oils, whereas GFL is not currently in that business.

The transaction with GFL includes Vertex’s used lubricant rerefinery in Columbus, Ohio, which has capacity to process 20 million gallons per year of used motor oil and to produce 55,000 metric tons per year of API Group II base stocks.

After the Clean Harbors transaction fell through, Vertex had said that it would still try to sell the Heartland business. Today officials said the sale to GFL will allow it to reduce debt and to focus on its new sustainable fuel business, which they see as the future of the company. Vertex is keeping a former Shell refinery in Mobile, Alabama, which is converting to make sustainable aviation fuel.

GFL is headquartered in Vaughn, Ontario, Canada, and claims to be the fourth-largest diversified environmental services provider in North America. Its core activities include trash collection, collection and processing of household recyclables, sewage pumping and hauling and treatment of contaminated soils.

In addition to operating the Columbus rerefinery, Heartland collects used motor oil in the Midwest. GFL is not buying Vertex’s processing plant in Marrero, Louisiana, which processes waste lubes does not make base oil. That facility was included in the Clean Harbors deal, which had a price tag of $140 million.

Vertex said the deal closed today.