Tomra Systems brings a can-do attitude to consumer recycling. The company's reverse vending machines (RVMs) are used in retail locations to identify returned beverage containers (glass, plastic, aluminum, or steel) and refund customer deposits. RVMs are used to process refillable and non-refillable beverage containers: refillables are identified by shape, sorted, and crated for transport back to the bottler; non-refillables are sorted, crushed, and shredded or compacted so they can be melted down to make new containers. Tomra's accumulation tables, sorting gates, and bottle-to-crate systems are intended to completely automate retailer recycling needs. The company gets more than half of its sales from Europe.
Alliances and acquisitions are fueling the recycler's growth. In early 2011 Tomra, through subsidiary Titech, took over Odenberg Investment for about €52 million ($69.7 million). The Dublin-based maker of sorting and processing technology (used mainly in the food industry) bolsters Titech's sensor based lineup of automated sorting systems (acquired by Tomra in 2004) for various types of packaging. Other acquisitions include Orwak Group (2005) and CommoDaS (2006), suppliers of recycling and sorting products, and UltraSort (2008), an Australia-based maker of advanced recognition and sorting products for the mining industry.
Expanding its geographical presence, in mid-2008 Tomra signed an agreement with Sumitomo to form a 50/50 joint venture in Japan. The JV is working to develop the market for automated collection of beverage containers. The two companies have informally cooperated since 2004.
In an earlier alliance with Tesco, a leading retailer in the UK, Tomra Systems began operating test recycling centers, rolling out Automated Recycling Centers (ARCs). The ARCs are automated collection centers that sort and compact the material at the collection point. They are designed to replace curbside programs and bottle banks. Joining the wave to replace, Waste Management used the ARCs in a pilot program in North America.
Tomra operates in the northeastern US and Canada. It picks up, transports, and processes empty beverage containers for beverage makers. An increase in beverage deposits in California has helped generate US revenues for the group.
Internationally, the company splits its European business unit into three regions: Nordic (Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden), Germany, and Central Europe (Benelux countries, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and France). The group's Recycling Solutions unit (renamed Business Development) consists of its Titech, Orwak Group, Japan, and business development operations.
Orkla owns nearly 15% of Tomra Systems. – less