Alter Trading Corp. acquires Behr Iron & Metal

Alter Trading Corp., headquartered in St. Louis, has announced that it has acquired substantially all the operating assets of Behr Iron & Metal, headquartered in Rockford, Illinois.

Alter says the purchase expands its presence in the central U.S., which includes 52 yards and brokerage offices in Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin, and furthers the company’s pattern of growth through acquisition and technology investment.

The Behr operations Alter has acquired include nine metal processing facilities in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, including three shredding operations and a specialty metals operation. Prior to the purchase, according to Recycling Today’s research, Alter had 12 auto shredders, including one idled shredder in Kearney, Nebraska.

“Behr, like Alter, has been an industry leader in the scrap metal recycling industry for more than 100 years,” Rob Goldstein, chairman and CEO of Alter, says. “We share similar customer-focused cultures and long-tenured workforces that have made us each successful in the past and assure the success of this combination. We welcome the Behr employees to our team.”

Jay Robinovitz, president and chief operating officer of Alter, says the purchase is a significant strategic addition to Alter. “Their geographic footprint, processing capabilities and customer base all dovetail well with Alter’s existing operations,” he continues. “We look forward to their continued success as part of Alter.”

With the purchase of Behr, Alter now has 1,325 employees and operates 61 metal recycling facilities and five trading offices in eight U.S. states, along with its representative sales office in Hong Kong.

Alter’s recent acquisitions include Wausau Scrap and Recycling Corp. (WSRC), Wausau, Wisconsin, in early 2015, and All Metals Recycling of Ottumwa, Iowa, in 2013.

Alter Trading was founded in 1898. The privately owned, fourth-generation company is ISO 9001 and 14001 certified for quality management and environmental management, respectively.

Aqua Metals produces first AquaRefined lead

Aqua Metals Inc., Alameda, California, says it has produced AquaRefined lead for the first time at its AquaRefinery lead-acid battery recycling plant in McCarran, Nevada. AquaRefining, unlike smelting, is a water-based, room-temperature process using nonpolluting electrochemical lead recycling technology.

“This is a major milestone—not just for our company, but for the entire industry,” says Stephen R. Clarke, chairman and CEO of Aqua Metals. “Our commercial-scale AquaRefining modules have the potential to revolutionize lead recycling and make lead-acid batteries the only truly sustainable battery technology. We are confident that our lead products will exceed the most rigorous industry specifications. I am extremely proud of our entire team for making this dream a reality.”

Through its on-site assay, Aqua Metals says it has verified that the lead produced in the AquaRefining module is more than 99.99 percent pure. The company says it will send its initial production samples to several U.S. battery manufacturing companies—which collectively represent more than 50 percent of U.S. battery production—to conduct their own assays.

Aqua Metals makes AquaRefining modules at its headquarters in Alameda. The company says it has built and delivered five modules to its Nevada AquaRefinery so far and plans to install and commission a total of 16 modules for initial production capacity of 80 metric tons of lead per day.

Alcoa Corp. completes separation from Alcoa Inc.

Alcoa Corp., headquartered in New York, says it has completed the separation from its parent company, Alcoa Inc. (now named Arconic Inc.) and has begun operating as an independent, publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “AA.”

“We are launching Alcoa Corp. as a world leader in the aluminum industry with distinct competitive advantages across the value chain,” says Roy Harvey, chief executive officer of Alcoa. “Our bauxite and alumina portfolios enjoy strong first quartile cost positions, and our aluminum portfolio has a highly competitive second quartile position. We’ve made a commercial success of our cast products business, our can sheet business is a leader in North America and our substantial energy assets are also driving value for maximum profitability. We achieved all of this during difficult market conditions, remaining resilient thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented 16,000 employees. As we look toward the future, we intend to continue operating with excellence and innovating within the industry we pioneered, always driven by our values and our strong will to succeed,” Harvey adds.

Alcoa’s portfolio consists of six businesses across the aluminum value chain—Bauxite, Alumina, Aluminum, Cast Products, Rolled Products and Energy. The company’s footprint includes 25 manufacturing facilities worldwide and approximately 16,000 employees.

Alcoa projects global aluminum demand growth to double from 2010 to 2020.

The separation was completed Nov. 1, 2016, through a pro rata distribution by Alcoa Inc. of 80.1 percent of the outstanding shares of the newly formed Alcoa Corp. Arconic will retain 19.9 percent of Alcoa Corp. common stock. The distribution is intended to qualify as a tax-free transaction to Alcoa Inc. shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the company says.

Alcoa Inc. shareholders receive one share of Alcoa Corp. common stock for every three shares of Alcoa Inc. common stock held as of Oct. 20, 2016, and they retain their shares of Alcoa Inc., which are now Arconic Inc. shares.

Schnitzer completes fiscal year on upbeat note

Portland, Oregon-based Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. has reported financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016. The company says its earnings per share were boosted by “a benefit from an insurance reimbursement” that allowed it to show earnings improvement over the previous quarter and from the comparable quarter in 2015.

Schnitzer says its earnings from continuing operations of 59 cents per share for the fourth quarter included the insurance reimbursement valued at approximately 21 cents per share. This was up from 41 cents per share in the third quarter.

In its most recent quarter, Schnitzer says operating income in its Auto and Metals Recycling (AMR) business increased 29 percent year over year “as benefits from cost reduction and productivity initiatives more than offset the adverse impact of lower selling prices and sales volumes.”

Although the fourth quarter represented the highest quarterly ferrous and nonferrous sales volumes in fiscal 2016, during the quarter prices for recycled metals fell sharply in June before stabilizing in the second half of the quarter, the company adds. As a result, fourth quarter AMR results included an estimated adverse impact from average inventory accounting of $3 million.

In its Steel Manufacturing Business (SMB), fourth quarter operating income was positive, but results were lower than the prior year fourth quarter “primarily due to the adverse impact of imports on selling prices and volumes,” the company says in comments accompanying its results.

In the fourth quarter overall, Schnitzer generated positive operating cash flow, leading to a year-over-year 16 percent reduction in total debt.