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European regulators block deal involving sale of Aurubis Buffalo plant

The North Buffalo plant that now operates as Aurubis Buffalo has endured a number of ownership changes over the years.

The brass and copper products plant, which has 650 employees, was supposed to be included in yet another sale, but European regulators have scuttled the deal.

The plant’s owner, Germany-based Aurubis AG, a year ago announced plans to sell its flat-rolled products business to Wieland-Werke AG, also based in Germany. But the European Commission has blocked the deal, citing "serious concerns the merger would reduce competition and increase prices for rolled copper products used by European manufacturers."

As a result, Aurubis AG, said it might seek a different buyer for its flat-rolled products segment, which includes the Buffalo plant. The company said it was "reviewing strategic options for the business division."

"Our primary goal is still to find a prospect for this segment where the business can develop well in the long term," said Jurgen Schlacher, Aurubis' CEO. Aurubis last year said it wanted to sell the segment to focus on other types of metals.

There were signs last year Aurubis’ deal with Wieland-Werke might not get the green light. Last August, the European Commission raised concerns that the merger might reduce competition for copper used by manufacturers.

Two months later, Aurubis warned that the deal was at risk, saying that regulators might ask for “further remedies that Wieland is not obligated to offer” under the purchase agreement.

The Buffalo plant, which opened over a century ago as the Buffalo Copper & Brass Rolling Mills, has undergone a variety of ownership and name changes. For years, the facility was known as American Brass.

Aurubis bought the Buffalo plant in 2011 as part of a broader deal with Nordic Capital, a Swedish investment group that had changed the plant’s name to Luvata. Prior to that, the plant was owned by Outokumpu, based in Finland.

 

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