Metallo is Europe’s largest producer of refined tin, smelting 9,600 tonnes per year of high purity ingots as well as 120,000 tpy of copper anodes and 18,000 tpy of lead.

The company, which turns over €927 million per year by operating plants in Beerse, Belgium and in Berango, Spain, is a major player in European base metals recycling and generates all of its processing feed from secondary sources.

The sale of Metallo comes as part of a recent wave of deal making in European base metals companies, several players were said to have bid for Metallo but many have been priced out, with three companies left in the running for the company.

“There aren’t many companies like Metallo with the technology and market standing. They’re good but this means buyers have to pay up,” one source who declined to be named said.

TowerBrook and Metallo both declined to comment when approached by Fastmarkets.

Private Equity fund TowerBrook originally bought its stake in Metallo, then Metallo-Chimique in 2013 from Alpha Group who retain a minority shareholding.
TowerBrook have holdings in a host of companies, including NHL ice hockey team the St Louis Blues.

After several years of investment in technology at Metallo, the fund is looking to cash out at a time when high premiums are being paid for European base metal industrials.

Last year, European copper product producers Mansfelder Kupfer und Messing (MKM) was taken over by competitor KME, while Europe’s largest copper smelter Aurubis bought out Codelco’s shares in its joint-venture Deutsche Giessdraht.

But with market consolidation underway, the European Commission (EC) is keeping a watchful eye on transactions.

Last Wednesday February 6, the EC vetoed Wieland’s proposed acquisition of Aurubis’ rolled products division citing “serious concerns” that the deal would create a new dominant player in the business of rolled-copper products, regarded as a key input for major European industries, such as electric vehicle production.