Metal Recycler Files for Bankruptcy in Shaky Market

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The recession has affected the scrap metal industry in a serious way. While the bottom dropped out at the first of the year, industry heads still have hope for its comeback. To its credit, we have seen some positive growth in the industry, but now we have hit another hiccup.

Photo: Metalworker.com.au

Some believe that scrap metal prices have hit the bottom, and are now slowly recovering. However, metal recyclers are still holding tight on operation costs and “holding their breath.” Photo: Metalworker.com.au

Empire Metal Recycling, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Huntington, W. Va.-based company will lay off an undisclosed amount of employees. After 24 years of operation, Empire has facilities in Ashland, Ky. and Ceredo, W. Va., both of which futures are still up in the air.

According to its Chapter 11 filing, the company claims it has between $100,000 and $500,000 in estimated liabilities while only having up to $50,000 in assets.

When the company moved to its location in Ironton, W. Va., president Mike Smith announced that the company would buy all types of scrap materials, from old cars, copper and brass to appliances, aluminum and stainless steel. He also promised more than 24 jobs in its 25,000-square-foot facility.

Smith promised to “process it, pack it and ship it around the world.” However, details of proper exportation practices were not available.

While the future for Empire seemed bright in 2005, according to the Ironton Tribune, the company was victim to thieves looking to buy and sell fenced metal and its Huntington headquarters suffered a fire in 2008.

There are several controversial issues surrounding the scrap metal market currently, one of those being the “Buy American” provision. Passed in January, the bill would mostly ban foreign steel and iron from projects laid out by the $819 billion economic package. However, it is still unknown just how the provision will be carried out or what effect it will have on the scrap metal industry.

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