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British business success as scrap metal firm posts £4.7bn in sales UK | news

Warrington-based European Metal Recycling has emerged as one of the UK’s biggest private companies after posting a £250m profit on its massive 2021 sales. The company is run by Chris Shepard, son of company founder Philip.

European Metals Refining (EMR) has been capitalizing on recent increases in steel prices and reaping profits from its steady expansion in the US over the years.

The company is owned by the Ausurus Group, which is controlled by the Sheppard family.

Ausurus has net assets of £723m, which would see the company enter the FTSE 250 if it were to list.

However, this is likely to be a conservative estimate, according to the appraiser, who said a business with similar profits would likely fetch at least £1 billion.

At the start of 2021, refined steel prices were around $475 (£392) a tonne, the highest in a decade.

EMR also recovers copper from wiring and plumbing and benefited from an all-time high of $10,725 a tonne last May.

Prices have fallen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on fears of slowing global growth, but EMR says its strong finances should help it weather the downturn.

It employs 3,700 people, more than half in the UK and most of the rest in the US.

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Mr Sheppard also said: “What we’re seeing now is we’re seeing a desire to make better quality recycled products. And it can be done.”

Recycled steel produces less than a third of the carbon emissions from blast furnaces in the primary steel sector.

The global market for recycled steel is about 600 million tonnes per year, compared to two billion tonnes for primary steel, leaving a huge gap for growth.

A third of EMR’s business is in cars, tin cans and refrigerators, which many associate with scrap, although Mr. Sheppard said he prefers to call his products recycled steel.

Another third is reclaimed steel and pipes from demolished buildings, and a final third comes from industrial projects such as BT’s efforts to replace its copper wire network with fiber optic cable.

British business success as scrap metal firm posts £4.7bn in sales UK | news

Source British business success as scrap metal firm posts £4.7bn in sales UK | news

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