Mining company PRG buys Metalysis out of administration

After falling into administration at the beginning of June, UK metal additive manufacturing powder manufacturer Metalysis has secured a buyer. Following what joint Grant Thornton administrator Eddie Williams has called “a very challenging process” Maltese mining company Power Resources Group (PRG) is to be the sole owner of the company.

Full financial details of the transaction remain undisclosed and Metalysis representatives have yet to comment. PRG CEO Ray Power has however said that he is “Delighted to expand the PRG family with the acquisition of a great company and great team at Metalysis.” Speaking to international news organization Reuters Power added, “The technology metals focus is a perfect complement to PRG’s existing vertically-integrated mining and refining operations and customer base.”

Power Resources Group's "Extraction Refined" motto and graphic. Image via Power Resources Group
Power Resources Group’s “Extraction Refined” motto and graphic. Image via Power Resources Group

Metalysis in administration 

Citing financial difficulties Metalysis directors were forced to put the company into administration on June 3, 2019. According to local reports of the news, employees had taken a 20% pay cut in March this year as an early warning of the company’s impending fate. Subsequently, 37 members of staff were cut from the payroll in June, leaving 23 people to look after the company’s facilities in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. At the time of administration, Metalysis held £1.6 million in funding from Neil Woodford’s Equity Income Fund which has been frozen to customer withdrawal. It was also said that the difficulties arose from a recent investment round which had been extended.

Including its most recent funding round from 2018, Metalysis had raised £92 million in funding since its founding in 2001. For the year ended March 2018, Metalysis made an operating loss of £7.1 million on revenues of  $0.866 million. It had a net book value of £10 million.

More efficient, cost-effective powder production

Metalysis is the proprietary owner of the Fray, Farthing and Chen (FFC) alloy extraction process which was originally invented at the University of Cambridge between 1996 and 1997. An alternative to conventional extraction methods, such as the Kroll process, FFC-Cambridge is an electrochemical process capable of removing metals or alloys from oxides. Once achieved at scale, it is believed that the FFC-Cambridge process will be more efficient, environmentally friendly and cheaper than its conventional counterparts.

Prior to administration, Metalysis had just recently confirmed its entry into “Generation 4” powder production, one step away from being able to produce a select range of powders on a commercial scale. The company had also confirmed that the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) had placed an order for titanium and aluminum-scandium products from its Gen4 line.

Metalysis metal powder. Photo via Metalysis
Metalysis metal powder. Photo via Metalysis

Observers familiar with the materials at its current stage remarked upon their high quality, though they were also said to be expensive compared to others on the market. Externally sourcing minerals has been reported as one of the company’s challenges due to their volatile pricing. PRG’s acquisition however could help to alleviate this strain.

Headquartered in Valletta, the capital of Malta PRG has tantalum and niobium mines in Rwanda, with a refinery in North Macedonia. This latter site in particular is expected to be of value to Metalysis going forward.

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Featured image shows titanium parts and powder produced by Metalysis. Photo via Metalysis