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Czech lead recycler sees 2003 output down 8pct

CZECH REPUBLIC: April 22, 2003


PRAGUE - Kovohute Pribram, the only Czech lead scrap smelter, said last week it saw its output of refined lead falling about eight percent this year because of tightening supplies of waste material for recycling.

The recycler said it planned to sell 26,000 tonnes of lead in 2003, down from 28,200 a year ago, and expected to produce and sell 16 tonnes of mostly silver anodes, which contain two percent of gold and palladium.

The company, based in the mining town of Pribram some 50 km (31.07 miles) south of Prague, earns more than 40 percent of its sales abroad, especially in the European Union, which the country will join in May 2004.

Kovohute has faced a shortage of lead waste from car battery production given technology improvements, spokeswoman Martina Rihova told Reuters.

Used lead-acid batteries, mainly automotive, were the main feed source for refined lead metal as Kovohute Pribram now depended entirely on secondary raw materials after it stopped processing lead ores 30 years ago.

Besides its focus on lead recycling, the company has sought to make recycling of waste containing tin and precious metals an important aspect of its business. Last year its anode sales rose by nearly a quarter.

"In 2003, the company does not anticipate an improvement in the economic environment, so it has based its plan on the prices of lead at $440 a tonne and an exchange rate of 31 crown per dollar," Rihova said.

"It can however be expected that the price of lead can show a further decline during 2003 and that the crown/dollar exchange rate does not meet expectations," she added.

Cash lead traded at $445 last week, after sliding from highs near the $490 mark in mid-February.

The crown has firmed nearly four percent so far this year, trading at around 28.930 per dollar last week.

Rihova said revenues were expected to dip to 805 million crowns ($27.90 million) this year from 865 million in 2002, but the business plan called for a near doubling of pre-tax profits to 18 million crowns from last year's 9.5 million.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

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SRMS - Sustainable Resource Management Services
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This article was supplied by ScoWaste, a mailing list run by SRMS
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