Nyrstar to Decide on Zinc Sales Options in September or October

Nyrstar NV, the world’s largest producer of refined zinc, will decide how to market its future European output of the metal in September or October as its purchase agreement with Glencore Xstrata Plc nears an end.

Glencore will stop selling Nyrstar’s zinc produced in Europe by Dec. 31 after agreeing to sell its 7.8 percent stake in the company to meet antitrust approval for its $29 billion takeover of Xstrata Plc. Nyrstar is studying options to sell the metal using its own in-house team or the appointment of a new trader.

“We would have to probably make that decision by September-October,” Bob Katsiouleris, Nyrstar’s group general manager for commercial operations, said in an interview today in Amsterdam. It’s “too early in the game” to say which option the company will choose, he said.

Nyrstar will receive a settlement fee of 44.9 million euros ($59 million) to end Glencore’s purchase agreement, it said on April 16. It also outlined the possibility of “bringing the marketing and sales of this volume in-house, tendering this volume to third parties or entering into partnering arrangements, with numerous enquiries having been made on the availability of this metal over the past months.”

The zinc producer already has part of an in-house marketing team to handle sales and “we’re building the team,” Katsiouleris said. Nyrstar will need a “good-sized” team to market its own zinc, depending on the region and volumes, he said.

“We’re running a very closely-knit process right now,” Katsiouleris said in a speech at the Metal Bulletin’s zinc conference in Amsterdam today. “We’re trying to keep an open mind. A lot of people are interested in the business. There are some excellent potential partners out there.”