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ISRI Time Capsule: An Acquisition Boom—and Bust

The scrap recycling industry entered a period of unprecedented consolidation in the late-1990s, primarily from 1997 to 1999.
MYMayConsolidationThree publicly traded companies--Philip Environmental Inc., Recycling Industries Inc., and Metal Management Inc.—drove much of the “consolidation craze” at the time. “While consolidation is nothing new to the scrap industry, what is different is the nature of these new players—all public entities—and their goal of steadily establishing regional, and perhaps national, processing networks,” said ISRI’s Scrap magazine in 1997. By 2000, however, the acquisition spree had flamed out, with all three large-scale consolidators declaring bankruptcy and reorganizing.

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