The world's largest producer of lead with plants in the UK, Germany, Austria, France and Italy
Montagu, Apax Ventures and Prudential Venture Managers led, structured and negotiated the private equity funding element of the £184.5 million Management Buyin of Ecobat Limited ("Ecobat") which enabled it to acquire the lead businesses of Metalgesellshaft AG and the lead recycling facilities of Enirisorse SpA.
Ecobat was formed two years before the transaction with the acquisition of three business from Billiton Metals, part of Shell, which was disposing of its non-core metals businesses. The companies acquired at the time included the UK's largest lead-acid battery and lead scrap recycling plant and two lead sheet distributors with significant share of the French and UK markets.
On the back of Ecobat's knowledge of the lead recycling industry it subsequently acquired through international auctions the lead businesses of Metalgesellshaft AG and the lead recycling facilities of Enirisorse SpA as part of that company's disposal programme.
The new Ecobat Limited group included plants in the UK, Germany, Austria, France and Italy. The plants had a combined production capacity 510,000 tonnes of lead a year, close to half the annual consumption of lead in Europe. The assets included state-of-the-art lead-acid battery recycling technology and a "new generation" smelter with the capacity to produce 100,000 tonnes of lead a year from lead concentrates.
Under Ecobat's ownership the acquired businesses would enhance their national identities whilst each operation would benefit from the sharing of Ecobat's technical expertise. A primary focus was to be to maintain stringent control over the manufacturing operations to ensure environmental standards continue to be met.
Montagu invested because it believed the combined group was a business of strategic importance in the European lead recycling industry and therefore well placed to benefit from the growing market for lead in Europe. The investment was subsequently realised in 2000.