NEW YORK, Mar 02, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) --Alcoa Inc. (AA) paid $10 million for a 10% equity stake in electronics-waste recycler Electronic Recyclers International, the aluminum giant said Wednesday.
The purchase comes as Pittsburgh-based Alcoa is trying to expand in the consumer electronics market as it benefits from rising aluminum prices. The company swung to profitability in the fourth quarter as sales grew and its average realized aluminum price jumped 17%.
ERI's Chief Executive John Shegerian--who refers to electronics-waste recycling as "urban mining"--said in an interview the company will put proceeds from the sale toward expanding domestically and abroad, mentioning India and Brazil as potential targets for 2012.
Alcoa's stake represents a second large outside investment in ERI, as companies seek to secure supplies of raw materials.
Korean copper smelter LS-Nikko Copper Inc. owns a larger minority stake than Alcoa, Shegerian said. He declined to disclose the exact size of that stake but said the smelter made investments in ERI in December 2009 and November 2010. "They put in millions of dollars both times," he said.
An LS-Nikko representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
Alcoa vice president and chief sustainability officer Kevin Anton will become a director of Electronic Recyclers International, which Alcoa said is the largest U.S. recycler of electronics waste.
"We see tremendous opportunity for aluminum in the consumer-electronics market," Anton said in a statement.
Alcoa expects aluminum content in laptops to increase 30% from 2010 to 2013.
The purchase comes on the heels of Alcoa's late-January $240 million acquisition of an aerospace-fastener business from TransDigm Group Inc. (TDG).