The Poudmet plant at Sénécourt, about 60 km north of Paris, manufactures high-quality water atomised copper powders and alloys such as bronze and brass as well as special alloys.

It was extensively updated only three years ago with the installation of three new atomisation lines for copper, copper alloys and special alloys.

The copper and copper alloy lines each include two induction furnaces and three atomisation furnaces with corresponding filtration, drying and on-line sieving installations. The special alloy line has two atomisation furnaces and associated facilities. Safety and environmental controls were also uprated.

Poudmet’s customer base includes the PM industry, diamond tooling, manufacturers of friction products and the chemical industry.

Poudmet president, Bruno Cottereau, said: “Following the insolvency of the Ecka Group in Germany, Ecka Granules Poudmet SAS is still in a sales process. After Platinum Equity’s decision few months ago to exclude Poudmet from its considerations, talks with other interested investors continued.

“Negotiations between a preferred investor and the local banks are progressing well and the sales process is on a positive path. The proposed restructuring under the new investor will relieve the organisation of many burdens of the past. Local banks have always supported Poudmet and continue to do so. The plant is operating normally and all customer inquiries are being served. Our market position is good and will further improve under the new investor. It is expected that the sales process will be finalised within the first quarter of 2011.

  • The PE deal for Ecka came too late to include the Trautenfurt, Germany, plant that manufactures electrolytic copper powder (ECP). That was sold in May to GGP Germany, a subsidiary of GGP Switzerland which, in turn, is owned by Uralelectromed of Russia, the major company in the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company conglomerate. The deal has raised fears in the European market over continuity of ECP supply to smaller companies that used to buy from Ecka. SCM manufactures ECP, but it is not clear whether it has the capacity to serve European markets as well its domestic North American customer base. Italy’s Pometon has ECP manufacturing interests based in Serbia, but it is thought to be a comparatively small-scale operation.