Kripke acquires Mid South Aluminum

Nonferrous scrap metal brokerage firm Kripke Enterprises Inc. (KEI), headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, has announced the acquisition of aluminum coil distributor Mid South Aluminum Inc., based in Jackson, Tennessee. (KEI was profiled in the March 2017 issue of Recycling Today, available at Matt Kripke, president of KEI, says the newly acquired company will operate as a division of KEI and will retain its name.

In 1995 Alan Sallee Jr. established Mid South Aluminum, which specialized in selling and distributing coil and accessories to the gutter and downspout industry. The firm expanded into wide coil in 2008 and today is a leading distributor of aluminum coil for home building, sign and lighting manufacturing, outdoor sheds and patio enclosures.

This is the first acquisition for KEI, says Kripke, who now also serves as president of Mid South Aluminum. “We have been looking for opportunities to expand for quite some time. We have been successful in the aluminum scrap world and are excited to add vertical integration in aluminum coil.”

Kripke adds, “With this acquisition and Alan’s leadership and expertise, KEI will quickly move further into the aluminum finished goods supply chain. We are excited to build on the great reputation and good name that Alan has built up for the company.”

“The sale of my company was a hard decision, but I am excited to grow Mid South, and KEI complements our business and culture,” says Sallee, who now serves as vice president of Mid South Aluminum and KEI. “With the support of KEI, Mid South can expand into new markets, build tolling arrangements and provide added value to our current customers.”

Shapiro Metals opens second Alabama facility

Shapiro Metals, a St. Louis-based nonferrous scrap metal recycling firm, has expanded its operations in the United States with the opening of a new facility in Decatur, Alabama.

The new 20,000-square-foot facility, located at 815 Old Trinity Rd., is the company’s 11th full-service location and its second plant in Alabama. Its other Alabama facility is in Mobile. Shapiro Metals says the Decatur location will not offer retail services.

Bruce Shapiro, president and CEO of Shapiro Metals, says, “We made the decision to open our facility in Decatur because we saw a need from manufacturers in the region to receive high-quality services and recognized a customer base that appreciates ‘partnering with integrity.’ That said, the plan for continued expansion in the northern Alabama area is important to us, and being local is our commitment to providing ‘lean recycling.’”

The Decatur facility will focus exclusively on recycling metals collected from industrial accounts in aerospace, trailer manufacturers, the automotive industry and medical devices. The site will include a baler, roll-off containers and other nonferrous scrap processing equipment.

With the opening of the Decatur facility, Shapiro Metals says it made a donation to the local One Vision Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for and encourages economic growth and promotes an environment in which businesses can prosper regarding education, housing and people development.

Shapiro Metals operates 11 recycling facilities in the U.S., with operations in St. Louis and Springfield, Missouri; Dickson, Tennessee; Fitzgerald, Georgia; McAllen, Denton and El Paso, Texas; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Mobile and Decatur; and Wichita, Kansas.

The company ranked as the 19th largest nonferrous scrap processing firm in North America on Recycling Today’s 2017 list, which was based on nonferrous scrap processing volumes for 2016. (This list, which appeared in the April 2017 edition, can be accessed at

Copper scrap gains market share in China

Copper inventories listed on the COMEX exchange hit a 13-year high in July 2017, according to an online report from Reuters.

The reasons,say two reporters who contributed to the article, are that “China is buying more scrap metal and anticipated infrastructure spending by the Trump administration is yet to appear.” COMEX copper inventories had risen to 166,000 tons (183,000 metric tons) as of July 11, 2017, says Reuters, representing “an increase of 88 percent since the end of 2016.”

Traders and analysts quoted in the article say primary copper trading has slowed throughout the year and express concern that copper’s stable pricing is based on anticipated demand that may not materialize.

One of the sources refers to copper scrap’s “record discounts” in 2017 as the reason copper fabricators and producers in China are favoring scrap over cathode. Much of the now excess cathode is building up in COMEX and London Metal Exchange (LME) inventories, they say.

Statistics gathered and posted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) confirm the trend. In the first four months of 2017, the U.S. exported 231,500 metric tons of copper-bearing scrap to China, an increase of 19.8 percent from the 193,200 exported in the first four months of 2016.

The biggest gainers have been unalloyed No. 1 and No. 2 copper scrap. Exports of these two grades year to date from the U.S. to China have risen by 35.8 and 34.7 percent respectively, according to USGS.

In terms of overall global demand for copper, one bank analyst points to disappointment in America’s economy. “There was this belief that with Trump coming into power, you’d see massive infrastructure deployment, taxes would be cut, the economy would be reinvigorated, and you’d have this very pro-growth policy and, with that, the U.S. would be consuming more copper,” remarks the analyst with Barclay’s Capital in New York.

Another factor cited in the COMEX inventory buildup was anticipation that Mexican-made copper may face a tariff, so imports from Mexico into the U.S. increased in early 2017.

Scrap firms challenge Omaha, Nebraska, ordinance

The owners of three scrap metal firms that operate in Omaha, Nebraska, are challenging a year-old municipal ordinance designed to clamp down on metals theft. The three companies say the law asks for too much personal information from customers and dealers and could result in the exposure of trade secrets.

According to an online article by the Omaha World-Herald, the challenge to the ordinance has been made by St. Louis-based Alter Trading, Wisconsin-based Sadoff Iron & Metal and Everett Industrial Building Co., each of which operates a scrap facility in the city.

An attorney representing the three companies, who is quoted in the World-Herald article, specifically mentions the LeadsOnline system and its contract. The attorney says the contract causes dealers to “forfeit privacy rights, valuable property rights and constitutionally protected rights” and could deprive the companies of trade secrets by disclosing business relationships.

A district court judge has temporarily restrained Omaha police from enforcing the law at the three companies’ Omaha locations, pending the case’s outcome, according to the newspaper.

Taiwan to face exported steel duties

United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has announced an “affirmative final determination” in an antidumping duty (AD) investigation, finding that steel reinforcing bar (rebar, used to reinforce concrete) from Taiwan has been sold into the U.S. market at unfair prices.

The Commerce Department determined that exporters from Taiwan have sold rebar in the U.S. at from 3.5 percent to 32 percent less than “fair value,” based on what it calls “factual evidence provided by the interested parties.”

The Commerce Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from rebar importers from Taiwan based on these rates.

“The United States can no longer sit back and watch as its essential industries like steel are destroyed by foreign companies unfairly selling their products in the U.S. markets,” Ross says. “We will continue to take action on behalf of U.S. industry to defend American businesses, their workers and our communities adversely impacted by unfair imports.”

In 2016, imports of steel concrete reinforcing bar from Taiwan were valued at an estimated $53 million.

The Rebar Trade Action Coalition filed the case with the Commerce Department on behalf of its individual members, several of whom operate scrap-fed electric arc furnace steel mills, including: