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Sims bolstering Rhode Island operations

Keywords: Tags  auto shredding, recycling, Sims Metal Management, Geoffrey Brunsdon, Daniel Dienst, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Sims Metal Management Ltd. is making progress to reshape its North American portfolio by shedding nonperforming assets and investing heavily in areas ripe for export.

While the Australia-based metals recycler has aggressively tightened its belt to reduce costs, it has begun to focus on areas that have the potential to yield strong returns.

The majority of the company’s Australian $149 million ($134.3 million) in capital investments over the past year included projects designed to deepen its footprint in New England, an executive noted during a recent conference call to discuss its financial results.

"Over the course of 2013 we have continued to advance our strategic agenda of optimizing the North American portfolio of assets," Sims chairman Geoffrey Brunsdon said.

Sims expects to open by December three greenfield projects in Rhode Island that have been in the works since fall 2011: an auto shredding facility in Johnston, a nonferrous yard in Fields Point and an export facility in Providence (, Oct. 10, 2011).

Earlier this year, now-retired chief executive officer Daniel Dienst said Sims was undertaking actions to direct capital to higher-margin areas with an emphasis toward water-based facilities, noting that inland facilities not near exporting avenues tend to produce lower returns (, April 8).

The company has been shedding noncore or underperforming assets, selling a Birmingham, Ala., shredding plant as well as facilities in Arizona and Colorado and a joint venture in Tennessee. Its aerospace unit also has been sold.

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