Making Headlines in 2007...
June 29: The First-Generation Apple iPhone Goes on Sale
July 11: Lady Bird Johnson Dies at age 94
July 21: The Final Harry Potter Book Sells 11 Million Copies on its First Day
Dec. 19: Vladimir Putin Named Time magazine’s Person of the Year
An Urge to Merge
The ongoing commodities boom led to increased merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the metals industry in the two years before the subprime mortgage crisis crippled the banking industry.
According to a Pricewaterhouse-Coopers report released in early 2008, “115 deals, totaling $77 billion in value, took place during 2007 in North America,” as reported in the June 2008 edition of Recycling Today.
While aluminum industry M&A activity was most common in much of the world, the hot deal-making sector in the U.S. in 2007 was the steel industry.
Nearly 100 years old, Federal International Inc., St. Louis, has navigated through difficult times and a changing industry thanks to a procession of good managers.
Founded as a rag and scrap paper sorting operation, the company grew in sophistication in its earliest decades, was a national broker by the 1940s and was brokering material for some of the largest commercial printers by the ’50s.
In the ‘60s, ’70s and ’80s, Mel Leskowitz helped expand the company’s global reach and diversified it into the collection and brokerage of plastic scrap.
In an October 2011 Recycling Today profile of the firm, current Federal International Recycling Division President John Daniel said as of that time materials brokerage accounted for 75 percent of the company’s volume while just 25 percent of its traded volume also was processed at its plants.
As it became clear to the Obama administration and Congress that 2009 was shaping up as a rough year for auto manufacturers and the U.S. economy overall, the “Cash for Clunkers” incentive was introduced.
The primary motive of the bill was to stimulate increased auto sales, but recyclers benefitted in the form of much needed auto salvage facility, scrap yard and shredding plant feedstock.
The auto salvage industry was critical of the law’s original timetable, saying it cut short the window of opportunity for dismantling and auto parts resale. The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) trade group successfully lobbied the government for an extension of the turnaround time in early 2010.
An analysis of automotive sales and scrapping statistics by research firm R.L. Polk, as reported by RecyclingToday.com in March 2010, determined that while 14.8 million vehicles were scrapped between July 2008 and September 2009, just 13.6 million new vehicles were sold.