SIMS Metal Management has announced the retirement of its chief executive, and says the worst may now be over after narrowing its first-half loss.
The world's biggest scrap metal and electronics recycler on Friday posted a $295.5 million net loss for the six months to December 31, an improvement from the $633.2 million net loss in the previous corresponding period despite lower metals prices and volumes.
The result included $291.3 million in goodwill and intangible asset impairment and inventory writedowns, mainly at Sims' North American operations.
Sims chief executive Daniel Dienst said it had been a challenging first half, given a steep drop in ferrous metals prices and lower volumes.
Mr Dienst noted prices ''seemed to find a floor'' in November and had posted significant increases since.
''We have now endured over four years of volatility and extremely challenging times in our markets,'' he said during Sims' results presentation on Friday. ''We believe closing the books on the first half of fiscal 2013 is also a potential closing of the doors on this difficult chapter.''
Sims said Mr Dienst would leave the company on June 30 when his contact expired. Mr Dienst said it was right time to retire and ''bring the next leader into the organisation in an orderly succession process'' after nine years in the job.
Sims booked a $17 million charge on its British operations, connected to the poor performance at the business and possible fraud.
Scrap metal intake and shipments in the six months to December fell 18 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively. Total revenue fell 25.1 per cent to $3.43 billion.
Mr Dienst said there had been some increases in volume during a traditionally quiet January and February. ''The volumes that I have seen at least through the first six weeks of the calendar year are a little bit better than how we closed out let's say November and December,'' he said.