TWST: What is Metal Management?
Mr. Dienst: Metal Management is the largest processor of scrap metals in North America with 50 locations in 16 states. We process all types of scrap metals, steel being the largest contributor by both weight and volume. We also process a significant amount, almost 500 million pounds a year, of non-ferrous scrap metals. So, in the aggregate, we process approximately 5 million tons a year of scrap metal, 4.6 million tons of steel, and the balance being aluminum, copper, and stainless steel. We are one of the largest scrap processors in the world. There are only a handful of companies globally that do multi-million ton a-year volume and ours is an industry that is currently starting to undergo considerable consolidation.
The steel industry has consolidated rapidly over the past five years so it's logical that the scrap industry, as a raw material provider to steel mills and aluminum smelters around the world, will begin to see consolidation as well. Metal Management was a consolidator in the late 1990s, acquiring some very prominent privately owned scrap businesses around the country. Many of those businesses had roots in their markets that date back decades if not nearly a century, so today Metal Management has a very strong foundation in the markets we operate in. It's a very regional business. We buy unprocessed scrap metal around the country, again at our 50-some odd locations in 16 different states, and while scrap is procured unprocessed very regionally, we aggregate our tons together and sell it on a global basis. About 60% to 70% of our scrap metal remains in the US as a feedstock for furnaces for domestic producers and the balance ends up in a foreign country to support their raw material requirements in places like Turkey and China and elsewhere. That's a high-level overview of Metal Management.
TWST: Give us an idea of what the supply/demand characteristics are. What do you see as the industry today and what determines where the supplies are, where you have to be, where your customers are, the elements that go into how you are successful in a particular region or country?
Mr. Dienst: There is no business like the scrap metal business. It is sometimes referred to as a reverse commodity business because our customers are really the people who sell us car bodies, white goods like refrigerators, industrial manufacturing businesses that generate scrap, etc. These are the people we commonly refer to as our customers. On the sell side of the equation, our consumers are some of the most well- regarded names in the metals business today such as Steel Dynamics (STLD), US Steel (X), and Mittal (MT), among others.