Liberty enters US ferrous scrap arena

The United Kingdom's Liberty Recycling, part of Liberty House Group, has chosen the southeastern United States as a starting point to grow its footprint in the US scrap industry, acquiring full ownership of Florida recycler and exporter Export Metals LLC.

A spokesman for parent company GFG Alliance declined to reveal the value of the transaction.

This is the latest step in GFG’s strategy to build a major stake in the metals and downstream industrial sector in the United States, and is part of a global expansion that has already seen it commit more than $3 billion to acquisitions in the UK, Australia and France, the company said in a release dated Monday March 19.

“[Export Metals] will be part of a network of scrap facilities across the US providing raw materials to Liberty-owned mills,” the spokesman told American Metal Market via email on Monday.

The company had finalized its purchase of the former ArcelorMittal USA rod mill in Georgetown, South Carolina, in January.

“The Georgetown mill be will be supplied from elsewhere, so for the time being scrap from Tampa will be sold in the open market,” the spokesman added.

Export Metals’ facility is located at the Port of Tampa and is equipped with a deep-sea terminal for bulk exports of ferrous scrap. It is unclear if Liberty intends to install a shredder at the facility, but the spokesman said the company is planning to invest in and expand the operation.

Export Metals’ former owner Steven Ryan did not respond to American Metal Market’s request for comment.

Liberty is also actively looking at other acquisition opportunities in areas outside of the southeastern US but is not in a position to give a time line regarding when and if these acquisitions will be finalized, the spokesman said.

“We are looking at a number of assets across the US and this was the first transaction that we have been in a position to complete,” he added.

Liberty has chosen a competitive area to make its foray into the US scrap industry. The two shredders currently operating within the vicinity of Port of Tampa are owned by Cincinnati-based David J. Joseph Co Sources familiar with the operation said Export Metals sources its shredded scrap from third-party suppliers located outside of Tampa.

“Investing in US steel assets is part of our global strategy to produce steel locally, using domestic raw materials and green energy and selling largely into local markets,” GFG executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said in a statement.

The acquisition comes at a time when US ferrous scrap prices are rising. American Metal Market’s dealer selling price for shredded scrap in Atlanta settled at $315 per gross ton for March, up 18.9% from $265 per ton a year earlier.