LME launches two ferrous futures contracts

The London Metal Exchange (LME) has launched two new ferrous futures contracts, LME Steel Scrap and LME Steel Rebar. The LME says the new contracts have been designed to meet the needs of the metal and trading communities at a time of great change for the steel supply chain.

The new contracts are cash-settled against leading benchmark prices from Platts and The Steel Index and are designed to provide new routes through which to trade steel futures and to protect against price volatility.

LME says the new contracts also are designed to complement its existing ferrous contract, LME Steel Billet, and to meet the metal community’s needs for new risk management tools.

The new contracts complete the production value chain for long steel, from inputs (LME Steel Scrap) through semifinished stages (LME Steel Billet) to finished products (LME Steel Rebar), according to the LME.

The combination of the steel billet contract with the new contracts is intended to deliver the optimal balance between physically settled and cash-settled contracts, LME says. Maintaining a physically delivered billet contract will act as the core of a suite of products that can then be cash settled, enabling the market to trade spreads back to the billet contract.

Steel associations present united front on China

Zlatko Unger via Flickr

According to EUROFER, the Brussels-based European Steel Association, nine regional steel associations have presented a unified position on the negative impact of granting China Market Economy Status (MES) in December 2016.

The nine associations are the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Steel Manufacturers Association, the Canadian Steel Producers Association, CANACERO (the Mexican steel association), Alacero (the Latin American steel association), EUROFER (the European steel association), Instituto AcoBrasil (Brazil Steel Institute), the Turkish Steel Producers Association and the Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports. The groups conducted a briefing for government officials in Paris, presenting their position.

Presentations at the 1 December 2015 event reviewed what the groups call the continued significant role of the state in the Chinese economy, the resultant growth in Chinese steel overcapacity and the surge in Chinese steel exports to world markets in recent years.

Representatives from the associations detailed what they framed as the negative consequences that would result from granting China MES before Chinese market-distorting policies were fully reformed. EUROFER says given the continuing significant role of the Chinese state in many key aspects of the Chinese economy, especially in its state-owned and controlled steel sector, there is no question that China remains a non-market economy. For the steel industry, recognition or treatment of China as a market economy at the end of 2016 would coincide with the peak of Chinese excess steelmaking capacity and record level of exports to international markets, the groups say.

La Farga chairman steps down

Vicenç Fisas Comella has left the position of chairman of La Farga after 35 years at the helm, having refounded the company, which is headquartered in Les Masies de Voltregà, Spain, in 1980.

On 30 October 2015 Fisas chaired the board of directors for the last time and bade an emotional farewell to its members, according to the company. This was followed by a ceremony to commemorate the 35 years that Vicenç Fisas has devoted to La Farga, which was at the company’s Copper Museum.

Vicenç Fisas is credited with having created a rigorous protocol at La Farga that governs the company and that serves as a point of reference in the country.

Vicenç Fisas

The new chairman will be current CEO and partner of the company Oriol Guixà. Guixà will combine the two posts by serving as executive chairman, La Farga says.

The other members of the company’s management team remain intact, with Miquel Garcia as managing director of La Farga Lacambra and La Farga Rod, Jordi Magnet in charge of La Farga Tub, Carles Camprubi in charge of La Farga Intec and Inka Guixà in charge of strategic management and planning.

Vicenç Fisas’ position on the company’s board of directors has been taken by his youngest daughter, Cristina Fisas, leaving Guixà as chairman and Vicenç Fisas with honorary chairmanship.

The shareholder structure of the company remains intact, the company says.

Vicenç Fisas’ beginnings with La Farga date back to 1980, when the law firm he formed a part of was tasked with solving the serious financial and industrial crisis in which the company, then known as Francisco Lacambra Lacambra of Les Masies de Voltregà, found itself.

Although the company was near bankruptcy, Vicenç Fisas, with the assistance of his colleagues in the law firm and the collaboration of his son-in-law Guixà, fought for its restructuring and viability, in turn setting up La Farga Lacambra SA, the company reports.

Since 1980, La Farga’s revenue has multiplied exponentially, the company says, increasing its production capacity and its international presence and developing technology patents that have been sold all over the world.

Vicenç Fisas leaves a company that is situated in the major business areas of the sector. In 2014 the three Spain-based La Farga entities realised revenue of €905 million ($968 million). In addition, the international investment for United States-based SDI La Farga has reached its maximum viability, according to the company, having secured the orders needed to ensure that the plant will operate at 100 percent of its capacity by 2016.

La Farga also reports that it is investing in a new copper pipe production project designed to yield efficiency improvements and the ability to market its copper pipes in new regions. The company says the 2015 investments are being carried out at the La Farga Lacambra and at the La Farga Tub facilities in Spain.

Vicenç Fisas also has played a key role in the creation of La Fundació La Farga, a foundation that devotes more than €100,000 (nearly $107,000) annually for higher education scholarships that are given to employees, the children of employees, residents of Les Masies de Voltregà and the business family.

“I am proud of having spent these 35 years at the head of a company that is now the world leader,” Vicenç Fisas said at the ceremony held at the company’s Copper Museum. “All of this success that we now have has been made possible thanks to effort and dedication to teamwork, to good ideas, to the enthusiasm for the work displayed by each and every one of the people who have participated.”

He continued, “I leave confident in the knowledge that I am leaving Oriol and the entire team of professionals who lead La Farga at the head of the company.”

ARN publishes grant funding report

ARN, the Dutch end-of-life vehicle recycling organisation, has published its “Layman’s Report,” detailing how ARN used €1 million in grant funding awarded by the European Life+ programme, intended to help optimise production lines at ARN’s postshredder technology (PST) plant.

ARN published the report in late November 2015, explaining how the grant was spent and the results achieved.

According to ARN, the opening of the PST plant in 2011 represented the organisation’s first steps toward achieving the EU recycling target for end-of-life vehicles: 85 percent reuse and 10 percent recovery.

The Life+ grant was used to optimise the existing line and to purchase new machines for metal recovery, ARN says. Thanks to the new systems, every year 250 tonnes of copper are recovered from the shredder residue, ARN says.

The organisation says it spent another part of the grant on energy-saving measures, resulting in a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption.

The Life+ ARN project ran from September 2011 to September 2015.

In 2013 and 2014, annual production of the PST plant amounted to 25,000 and 36,000 tonnes, respectively. In 2015, ARN says it expects to process a total of 42,500 tonnes.

The organisation says its LIFE+ project supports the Dutch government in complying with its automobile recycling obligations.

The European Union funds the LIFE+ grant programme, which is designed to develop and implement nature and environmental policy.