Casella Waste Systems Inc.

Rutland, Vt.-based Casella has surged into the ranks of aggressive solid waste consolidators with a regional consolidation strategy focused on rural areas in five Northeastern states, including Maine, upstate New York, New Hampshire, northern Pennsylvania and Vermont.

Between May 1994 and September 1998, Casella acquired 92 solid waste companies in this region - 12 of which occurred between May 1998 and September 1998.

As of September 1998, the company's annualized run rate totals revenues of $155 million - up from $79.5 million in fiscal 1997.

Company facilities currently serve more than 180,000 commercial, industrial and residential customers, and include 29 collection operations, five landfills, with a sixth under construction; 35 major transfer stations, plus a number of smaller transfer sites; and nine recycling centers.

"We concentrate on the rural areas outside the major cities in our region," says Joseph S. Fusco, Casella's vice president of communications. "We grew up in this region and have developed particular skills necessary to serving rural markets, which present operational challenges because there is not a lot of density.

"Our market is characterized by highly fragmented operations, and we have a lot of small competitors," Fusco says.

Thanks to the contiguous network of company assets throughout the region, Casella often appears to be the logical buyer when companies or municipalities decide to sell, Fusco says.

Company literature suggests that the rural, Northeastern United States contains a $1 billion waste management market. With about 25 percent of those revenues controlled by public companies, Casella has focused its rural and geographic consolidation strategy on capturing a significant share of this market over the next three to five years.