Cleanaway plans to kill low-cost health competitor

Australia may be paying more for the disposal of needles and other dangerous medical equipment, with “strictly confidential” internal strategy documents showing Cleanaway Waste Management acquired its only rival, which was up to 40 per cent cheaper.

Cleanaway, Australia’s largest waste management company serving 100 local councils and many hospitals and clinics, took over its rival – ASP Healthcare – in March 2019 to pre-empt the imminent expiry of a 20-year patent on its Sharpsmart reusable disposable system. ASP offered a similar product known as EZ-Collect, which was 20 per cent cheaper than Sharpsmart for initial customers and between 30 per cent and 40 per cent cheaper for ongoing customers.

According to an internal Sharpsmart “strategic market position paper” earmarked “strictly confidential”, Cleanaway was warned an acquisition of ASP “needs to be done very soon, before the EZ-Collect gains further market traction to reduce purchase cost and any Sharpsmart market disruption”.

Sharpsmart is offered by Cleanaway’s subsidiary, Daniels Health, and the product contributed about 84 per cent of Daniels earnings before interest and tax in financial 2018, drawing in $19.3 million.

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Murky dealings indeed and I’m surprised that, if this has indeed been reported accurately, this does not fall foul of relevant financial regulations.

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