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Little-known Bootle company that destroys aircraft carriers brings in £2 BILLION

Echo Business

European Metal Recycling is one of the biggest businesses in our region.

You’ll know of European Metal Recycling from its scrap metal mountains at Bootle – but you may not know much about the firm itself and you might be surprised to learn about the mountains of cash this company makes.

Warrington-based EMR’s latest set of accounts shows the company bought in a whopping £2.2 BILLION in sales in 2016, up 10% on 2015.

Those Bootle scrapyards are EMR’s best-known local site.  But the company actually has interests around the world, including breaking up US Navy aircraft carriers.

It all means that EMR is one of the biggest companies in the North West.

That £2.2bn turnover made EMR an operating profit of £94m – though after writing off the value of some of its investments, EMR reported a pre-tax loss of £167m.

But, in its latest accounts, posted on Companies House, EMR says it performed much better in 2016 than the previous year and that the write-off was a one-off which won’t affect future results.

2015 saw a plunge in the value of scrap metals, hitting EMR hard. But prices for scrap steel, copper and aluminium recovered well in 2016.

The directors’ report says: “The return to more normalised markets during 2016, together with the impact of a number of projects which were initiated in Q4 2015, has resulted in the group achieving significant growth in underlying profitability in 2016.”

It added: “2017 year to date performance is significantly stronger than 2016. Management, however, continue to remain vigilant as the global economic situation remains uncertain.”

A huge blaze broke out at EMR’s Bootle site in March that firefighters took three days to tackle. There was another serious fire at the site in April 2016 and another in September 2015.

After the most recent blaze, EMR apologised to local residents and said it was working to prevent future incidents.

EMR’s heritage dates back to the 1940s and the firm now employs thousands at 150 locations around the world.

The group is growing strongly in the USA thanks to the success of its shipbreaking arm in Brownsville, Texas.

In May this year, it finished recycling the US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Constellation. And, in June, the US Independence arrived in Brownsville to be decommissioned and recycled.

EMR has also won $155m in tax credits for its base in Camden, New Jersey, so it can expand its business there.

The latest report says directors don’t expect any more falls in scrap metal prices this year.

And it says: “Although there could be some effect from the Brexit decision, China is the overwhelming driver of the economics for the sake of hard commodities (such as scrap metal).”

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