In a volte-face, German recycling group Alba now plans to retain its steel and metal recycling operations. The board of Alba Europe Holding has decided to stop exploring options for a sale of the publicly listed steel and metals division Alba SE, the company announced last week.
Given the rapidly changing economic and political environment, Alba now wants to expand its steel and metal scrap business and take advantage of the opportunities arising from climate policy. Since early 2022, the company has been looking for a strategic investor to take over Alba SE. At the time, Alba said it was pursuing a sale in response to the “significant structural transformation” expected in the steel and metal recycling industries in the coming years.
Since then, however, conditions have changed fundamentally, said Chief Executive Robert Arbter. “The past year, with the war in Ukraine as well as European and German progress on climate policy, has shown that raw material and energy security are gaining in importance. And the recycling of steel and metals plays a key role here to reduce industry’s energy costs and CO2 emissions, and to secure advantages in international competition.”
The board therefore sees promising long-term development prospects for the steel and metal recycling activities. As previously reported, Alba SE generated higher turnover last year but lower earnings. Nevertheless, the financial results were better than expected, the group stressed. Despite the market volatility, Alba SE performed exceptionally well in a difficult environment, the company said.
As a result, Alba now plans to invest further in its 21 steel and metal sites. In May, the company inaugurated an innovative laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) sorting plant for aluminium at its Hoppegarten site, just east of Berlin. “We are planning for the long term: We are strengthening our investments in the steel and metals business. The Hoppegarten investment in particular demonstrates that Alba wants to continue to be a trailblazer in recycling,” said Mr Arbter.
Alba Europe Holding plc & Co. KG, which is controlled by Eric Schweitzer and his family, owns around 93.5 per cent of the shares in Alba SE.