Metals and electronics recycling company Sims Metal Management Ltd. (SMM), with headquarters in Sydney and New York, is celebrating 100 years in the recycling business in 2017. Albert Sims founded the company in 1917 with a single small yard in Sydney. Since that time, SMM has evolved into a global business, recycling more than 250 million metric tons of metal and generating revenue of more than $100 billion, the company says.
Sims initially collected material by bicycle before graduating to horse and cart, which then gave way to motor vehicles and mechanized equipment, the company explains. By the late 1930s, the company known as Albert G. Sims Ltd. had metals recycling operations across Australia.
By 1948 Albert G. Sims had been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
The seeds of Sims’ current global trading operations were planted as early as the 1950s, the company says. In 1956, the company chartered the MV “Swan Hill,” exporting the first cargo of steel scrap to Japan. By the end of the 1960s, Sims’ overseas ferrous scrap markets had expanded to include Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Bangladesh.
By the late 1980s, Sims entered the U.S. market with the acquisition of LMC Corp., San Francisco. Its expansion in the U.S. included the Richmond Steel Recycling joint venture in 1996, the merger with Hugo Neu in 2005, the formation of the Sims Adams Recycling joint venture in 2007 and the merger with Metal Management in 2008, the company notes.
In the United Kingdom, SMM established itself in 1995 with the formation of Sims Bird Ltd., which was followed by the acquisition of McIntyre Metals in 1996, Philips Services in 2000 and Dunn Bros. in 2011, according to the company.
The full international scope of the business was realized with the creation of Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS) in 2004. Through numerous key acquisitions and investments spanning countries that included the U.K., the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, the U.S., India, Austria, Dubai and South Africa, the company says, SRS achieved true global scale.
“I am proud to be a part of an organization with such a long and successful history,” says Alistair Field, SMM group CEO and managing director. “The world has changed a lot since Albert Sims started his small business in 1917. We’ve experienced two world wars and carried on through great advances in technology, great social transformations and the globalization of the international economy. Through each turn, the company has adapted and thrived.”
He continues, “It speaks volumes to the resilience and commitment of our people that not only are we still here, but we have prospered with each new change. Our focus on optimization and continuous improvement, with internal investments in our operations, functions and people, will continue to ensure we maintain our solid path for years to come.”
Today, SMM is a world-leading publicly listed metals and electronics recycler and an emerging player in the municipal recycling and renewable energy industry. The company employs 4,500 people across 200 facilities in more than 20 countries.