May 4, 2020 / 9:53 AM / a month ago

Copper smelter Aurubis gets EU approval for Metallo takeover

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe’s biggest copper smelter Aurubis (NAFG.DE) won European Union antitrust approval on Monday for its planned 380 million euro ($412 million) acquisition of Belgian-Spanish metal recycling group Metallo, the European Commission said.

FILE PHOTO: Copper pipes are pictured during a double distillation at a distillery in France, October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The Commission said in a statement: “The merger would not adversely affect competition” in the copper recycling sector.

Reuters had reported on April 28 that EU antitrust regulators were set to approve the deal.

Aurubis agreed in May 2019 to buy Metallo for 380 million euros as part of an acquisition-led expansion into other metals alongside copper.

Metallo processes about 220,000 tonnes of scrap and recycling materials a year at its Beerse plant in Belgium and another 95,000 tonnes its plant in Berango in Spain.

Along with copper, Metallo produces a range of other metals including tin and lead. Its processes difficult scraps with low metal content.

Aurubis said separately it expected the formal closing of the takeover on May 29 and that EU approval on Monday was unconditional.

The main shareholder in Metallo is investment company TowerBrook Capital Partners.

“The combination is a key milestone in the implementation of our multi-metals strategy,” said Aurubis CEO Roland Harings in a statement.

“Recycling is crucial for a sustainable society and, furthermore, is an attractive global growth market,” Harings said. “Metallo’s processing know-how and technical processes perfectly complement Aurubis’ core expertise. Together, we will continue to expand our capabilities and capacities for recycling important industrial and precious metals.”

The initial consolidation of Metallo into the Aurubis group will start on June 1 and planning for the merger is expected to be finished by the end of 2020, an Aurubis spokeswoman said. The actual integration could last longer.

European Union competition authorities in early 2019 vetoed a plan by Aurubis to sell its flat rolled products division to German copper products producer Wieland, arguing the deal could lead to higher prices.

Reporting by Robin Emmott, additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg, editing by Jane Merriman

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