American Zinc Recycling Announces Combination with European-Based Leader in Hazardous Waste Recycling

Combination to Produce a Global Leader in Recycling of Steel Mill Dust 

Pittsburgh, PA., June 16, 2021 – American Zinc Recycling LLC (“AZR”), a leading provider of environmental services to the U.S. steel industry, today announced that Luxembourg-based Befesa S.A. (“Befesa”) will acquire 100% of its recycling assets for $450 million. Additionally, Befesa will invest $10 million for a minority stake in AZR’s downstream refining operation in Rutherford County, NC, American Zinc Products (“AZP”), forming a joint venture with the current ownership.

The transaction will create a global leader in hazardous waste recycling services, enabling the circular economy within the steel and aluminum industries. The combined company will include all employees in AZR’s recycling business, and will operate under the Befesa name.  

“This transaction brings together the two established leaders in our respective markets to create a global leader in recycling electric arc furnace dust,” said Joel Hawthorne, CEO of AZR. “We’ve been working with the Befesa management cooperatively and productively and I’m confident this transaction is a huge win for our shareholders, employees and our customers.”

The transaction increases Befesa’s total steel dust recycling capacity by 40 percent to 1.7 million tons across 12 facilities evenly spread through Europe, Asia and the United States. Combining with AZR will provide Befesa with its first North America operation and a significant and well- developed presence in the growing EAF steelmaking markets in United States. 

AZP’s zinc refining operation will be a joint venture between Befesa and the existing AZR shareholders, whereby Befesa may eventually acquire 100% of AZP pursuant to call and put options tied to certain operational and financial milestones through December 31, 2023. AZP employees will remain with the joint venture.

The vertical integration strategy of AZR and AZP will remain in place through a series of 3-year commercial contracts or until Befesa achieves 100% ownership of AZP. The Rutherford County facility produces Special High Grade (SHG) and Continuous Galvanizing Grade (CGG) high purity zinc metal using recycled steel mill dust. This EAF dust is processed at the AZR recycling facilities, and then further treated through the combined modern solvent extraction and electrowinning technologies of AZP, enabling the circular economy. 

“The combination with Befesa is an exciting milestone in AZR’s 170+ year history and an incredible opportunity to advance our mission of recycling hazardous steel mill dust and contributing to a greener economy,” said Hawthorne. “On a day-to-day basis, it’s business as usual for our customers and employees, but we will now have the opportunities, resources and support to serve our customers and grow our business even further.”

The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

The International Metals Reclamation Company (INMETCO), will continue to be a wholly owned subsidiary of AZR and operate as a standalone business.  

BMO Capital Markets acted as financial advisor to AZR in connection with the transaction and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP acted as legal advisor to AZR in connection with the transaction.


About American Zinc Recycling:

American Zinc Recycling LLC is a leading provider of environmental services to the U.S. steel industry. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., American Zinc Recycling LLC through its operating subsidiaries employs approximately 700 people, and has six state-of-the-art facilities throughout the U.S. Visit for more information.

The information in this notice contains forward-looking statements, including statements about operational developments and future operating levels and production rates. These statements are based on current assumptions, estimates and information, are not guarantees of future performance, and are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties. Our actual results, performance or achievement could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements. We can give no assurances that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will occur or, if any of them do, what impact they will have on our results of operations and financial condition. We undertake no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.


Media Contacts: 

Lisa Wolford