Lead-zinc producer Recylex’ German operations seek insolvency protection

Four German operating units of France-based lead-zinc producer Recylex S.A. have “applied for protective shield procedures in accordance with German Insolvency law. Recylex will consequently lose control of its German subgroup”, the company said last week.

The four subsidiaries—Weser-Metall GmbH, Harz-Metall GmbH, Norzinco GmbH and PPM Pure Metals GmbH—recycle lead-acid batteries and other materials containing lead or zinc. According to Recylex, “Weser-Metall GmbH produces approximately 120,000 tons of lead annually, making it the third largest lead smelter in Europe and the second largest lead recycler.”

Sebastian Rudow, chairman and CEP of Recylex S.A., says the protective filings are directly related to COVID-19 and resulting shutdowns. “The rapid developments caused by [the] pandemic have effects we can no longer influence,” he comments. “The slump of the zinc price and the deteriorating economic outlook are now taking away the going concern perspective of Harz-Metall GmbH.”

Additional comments by Rudlow point to a future separation of the German operations from Recylex operations in France. “With the protective shield procedures, the operationally active entities of the German subgroup will be entering a new path to face the challenges of [the] pandemic,” he comments. “Without the challenges of the German subgroup, we can and must focus on our core in France.”

Continues Rudlow, “I am expecting that the special restructuring benefits provided by German law in these procedures will enable the entities to continue their business operations and to pursue their restructuring according to a path individually chosen by them. Weser-Metall GmbH’s smelter needs to be supplied continuously, and the used lead-acid batteries recycling plants of Recylex S.A. are currently resuming their operations. Our polypropylene production in France stands with great know-how and high industrial standards.”

Recylex S.A. also states, “The objective of the filing for protective shield procedures is to continue each business operation and to implement individual restructuring processes and, therefore, to enable the companies to survive once the pandemic has been overcome.”

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