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Lead and zinc price declines hit Recylex’s sales

Lower prices and lower demand are being blamed by the specialist recycler Recylex for a 17% fall in consolidated sales over the past year.

The company, which employs more than 730 people at sites in France and Germany, reports that sales at 30 September were EUR 232.9 million compared to EUR 281.5 million in September 2018. Consolidated sales for the third quarter of 2019 of EUR 79.4 million are 10% down on the same period in 2018.

Taking major segments in turn:

  • Lead sales of EUR 147 million is a 19% decline from 2018 which the financial reports attributes to lower lead prices which impacted the smelter’s commercial conditions
  • Zinc sales of EUR 63.6 million are down 16% on 2018. Reasons include the ‘strong drop’ in zinc prices compared to the same period in 2018 and ‘a sharp deterioration’ in commercial conditions.
  • Special metal sales of EUR 13 million is a 11% decline on 2018. The report says that, despite a good performance in the first quarter of 2019, activity in the second and third quarters of 2019 was marked by ‘a sharp slowdown’ in demand for arsenic and germanium which are the main contributors.

Market downturn

Sebastian Rudow, chairman and ceo, says ‘The group’s economic performance in the first nine months of 2019 was marked in particular by the deterioration in metal prices and commercial conditions in the lead and zinc segments. The plastics segment continued its strategic reorientation in a difficult market environment and the special metals segment was confronted with a market downturn during the year.’

He says the top priority is to obtain the support from the German subgroup’s financial partners on a short-term basis ‘to achieve a sustainable financing structure for the group on a long-term basis’.

Make smelter more profitable

Recylex, through the Weser-Metall GmbH lead subsidiary in Germany, is concluding technical studies and tests carried out its smelter at Nordenham on the treatment of electronic waste. Most of the current smelting is of recycled car batteries but Rudow wants to diversify the materials recycled there ‘to enable the smelter to be profitable again in the future’.  

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