Recylex SA (RX), a Paris-based metals recycling company, sees “relatively good” demand for lead in Europe due to its use in car batteries and emergency power generators, said Yves Roche, the chief executive officer.
“Demand in Europe is good,” Roche said in an interview at a Metal Bulletin conference in Warsaw yesterday. “It’s not booming, but nearly everything is sold already.”
While lead usage in western Europe is more driven by industrial batteries, such as those used in emergency power generators, customers in eastern Europe have been buying more metal for car batteries, he said.
Lead output at Recylex’s two smelters in Germany and Belgium was 126,000 metric tons in 2011. Recylex, which makes most lead from used batteries, sells almost all its metal in Europe. The company processes about 150,000 tons of battery scrap a year, Roche said. About 80 percent of lead is used in batteries, according to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group in Lisbon.
About 45 percent of world lead usage comes from replacement car batteries, an area largely immune to recession, Roche said. Lead accounted for 70 percent of the company’s revenue in 2010, according to its website. Glencore International AG, the world’s largest commodity trader, owns about a third of the French company, Bloomberg data shows.