A CAMBRIDGESHIRE firm that began life as a haulage contractor in 1925 has been sold for nearly £50 million to an Anglo-Spanish joint venture.

A CAMBRIDGESHIRE firm that began life as a haulage contractor in 1925 has been sold for nearly £50 million to an Anglo-Spanish joint venture.

AmeyCespa has bought out waste contractor Donarbon of Waterbeach in a deal that gives the Spanish-owned waste company its first foothold in the UK in a 50:50 deal with Amey.

Donarbon is currently delivering a 28-year waste management PFI contract in Cambridgeshire with Cambridgeshire County Council, worth £730million. The company processes waste collected by Huntingdonshire and the other four district councils in the county at its waste treatment facilities and landfill operation.

It also operates two transfer stations, nine household waste recycling centres and other industrial and commercial services in the region.

Mark Davenport, a director of the Donarbon Group, who will transfer to AmeyCespa and run the business, said: "AmeyCespa will bring a wealth of waste management experience and best practice to Cambridgeshire.

"It's excellent news not only for the development of our employees but for the region as a whole."

Mr Davenport is the son-in-law of the John Dickerson, who died in 1999 and was himself the son of the company's founder, Maurice Dickerson.

Maurice Dickerson began operating as a haulage contractor in 1925 and in 1937 he founded M Dickerson Ltd.

The company initially operated from premises in Gloucester Street, Cambridge, now part of the Castle Park complex, behind Shire Hall.

In the late 1930s some of his main contracts were for the Government, hauling materials for airfield construction. During the war, the company was kept busy carrying bombs and munitions from the Midlands to the East Anglian docks.

By the end of the war, the company fleet of five-ton lorries had increased from 10 to 32. In 1948, the present site at Waterbeach (off the A10, north of Cambridge) was bought for the extraction of sand and gravel. During this time the company also operated a petrol station, car sales and vehicle recovery service from Teversham Corner Garage on Newmarket Road.

In 1960 Maurice Dickerson retired and handed over the reins to his son John.

The company continued to grow and in 1964 moved to a new three acre site at King's Hedges Road in Cambridge.

During the 1960s and 70s the company demolished the majority of East Anglia's disused airfields and produced a recycled material that was used in road building. Concrete from the perimeter of Wattisham airfield, for example, was used to build the Ipswich by-pass and bridge over the River Orwell.

In 1969 Donarbon Ltd was formed as a skip-hire business and to landfill the void that was left by the mineral extraction at Waterbeach.

The company quickly outgrew the Cambridge site and in 1970 it moved to the present headquarters at Waterbeach.

In June, AmeyCespa was named preferred bidder for the North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council residual waste PFI.

In addition, AmeyCespa is shortlisted for the Norfolk Waste PFI - a 25-year contract to treat all of Norfolk's contract waste.