Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Aurubis AG formally closed its acquisition of Belgian-Spanish recycler Metallo on May 29, resulting in an annual recycling capacity of 1mn mt with a diversified metal portfolio including copper, nickel, zinc, tin and lead.  Aurubis now provides European scrapyards an alternative to China. 


The acquisition of Belgian-Spanish recycler, Metallo added 315,000mt of recycling capacity to Aurubis’ portfolio – 220,000mt from Metallo’s Belgian plant and 95,000mt from its Spanish plant.  In addition to the increased capacity, Aurubis has also acquired technology from Metallo to recycle scrap grades with low metal content. This would help Aurubis build a zero-waste business model when the compositions of input materials are becoming increasingly complex. 


“The merger of Aurubis and Metallo reduces the number of independent copper smelters in the European Union, thereby also reducing the number of scrap buyers, which is not preferred by the recycling industry. However, if the company delivers on its promise to increase sustainable capacity, it would result in a win-win situation. The more complex products are becoming, the need is for companies who have the ability to handle complex scrap”, said Murat Bayram, director of Britain’s European Metal Recycling, at a recent webinar hosted by the BIR.


Other European copper smelters, who although perceive the merger of Aurubis and Metallo to be giant competition, are also optimistic about the deal since they consider China to be a bigger competitor.


Uwe Schmidt, chief commercial officer at Montanwerke Brixlegg, an Austrian secondary copper smelter, said in a webinar hosted by ISRI, that this merger, which now has Aurubis owning 2/3rd of the European market share, would help keep the scrap generated in Europe inside the continent. 


He also said that it would not only benefit the scrapyards, who would save on costs to transport material to ports, but also its competitors who would no longer have to contend with China for buying scrap.


The initial consolidation of the acquisition began on June 1. Metallo was previously majority-owned by investment firm TowerBrook Capital Partners.

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