EU clears Aurubis copper cable recycling JV with German entity

The European Commission (EC) has issued merger control clearance for the planned joint venture (JV) between Aurubis and TSR Recycling on April 22, clearing the way for the partnership to go forward, Aurubis said.

The two German companies announced their intention to form a JV that would unite the cable dismantling activities of Aurubis’ subsidiary Cablo Metall-Recycling und Handel (Cablo) and those of TSR in Gelsenkirchen in November 2020.

The main goal of the partnership – to be called Cablo – will be to recover copper granules and plastics from the recycling of cable waste, Aurubis said, which can be used in making copper products such as new cast copper wire rods, which are then used to make new cables. 

“We’re fully [focused] on pre-processing cable in this JV, particularly copper cable with a broad range of qualities. We’re in a position to close material cycles along the entire value chain even more effectively in this sub-segment,” chief operation officer at TSR, Bernd Fleschenberg, said.

“This enables us to make a crucial contribution to enhancing the circular economy and serves as a role model for other material flows as well,” Fleschenberg said.

Aurubis is Europe’s largest copper smelter – with a copper cathode output of 278,000 tonnes in the first quarter of its 2020/21 fiscal year – and the world’s largest copper recycler – with a production of 141,000 tonnes of copper scrap and other recycling materials over the same period. 

“A world that needs more raw materials requires more capacity as well as technologies to recycle these raw materials from products at the end of their respective lifespans. With Cablo, we will increase the volume of input materials…and create new solutions for the accumulated plastic,” Aurubis’ chief executive officer Roland Harings said.

“The purpose of Cablo is to strengthen the circular economy with the know-how of both companies and to contribute to the European Green Deal,” Harings said.

The European Green Deal’s main goals are creating a resource-efficient and sustainable economy that is greenhouse gas-free by 2050, as well as decoupled from resource use, therefore, one of its main promotions is the move to circular economies.  

Aurubis raised its forecast earnings for the financial year ending September 2021 before taxes to €270-330 million ($328-401 million) on January 21, from a previous forecast of €210-270 million set last September, on higher copper prices and the subsequent availability of copper scrap metal to boost its revenue.

The London Metal Exchange three-month copper price hit $9,440 per tonne on April 22, having traded around and above the $9,000-per-tonne mark since mid-February.

The TSR branch in Gelsenkirchen operates two cable granulators and processes various types of cable, also recovering different qualities of copper granules. Cablo has specialized in recycling copper and aluminium cables since 1949 and produces a wide variety of metal granules, the company said.

TSR will hold 60% of the JV as a partner and manage its operations, while Aurubis will hold the remaining 40% in the partnership.

The closing of the transaction, and beginning of the JV’s operations at the two sites, is planned for early June 2021.