“The price of scrap is higher than that of cathode”
CEO of Zob Aliaj:

“The price of scrap is higher than that of cathode”

“We use scrap to produce brass sections. Using cathode is not economical, because we are not entitle to buying from the IME and have to buy on the free market. Production would be more profitable if we could buy cathode on the IME instead of scrap on the free market,” said Ahmad Naseri, CEO of Zob Aliaj.

Ahmad Naseri pointed out that scrap can be bought only on spot (cash) due to price fluctuations. “All industries are crippled by price fluctuations. Without a definite price, brokers and dealers are free to set their own prices in any way they like. Moreover, purchases are done only in cash; shortage of liquidity is another problem here. Exporting was free last year, and it was very profitable, but it led to higher prices of copper. Exports have been restricted, but the market has not completely stabilized yet. The price of brass sections has increased by about 6,000 tomans per kilogram, and the price of scrap has gone up from 50,000 to 58,000 tomans.”

All scrap is used.

“Using scrap helps save the environment, but it’s really expensive and is not always available. Until 12 years ago, our industry was considered a polluting one due to the fumes and vapors from production; in new systems, bag filters absorb the emissions. We had to beg the municipality to get rid of the fumes, but now we sell it for 6,000 tomans per kilogram. In this way, scrap is entirely used and emissions are controlled.”

Export of raw materials is profitable.

“Exporting raw materials is more profitable than exporting brass sections. In Turkey, for instance, brass RBS is cheaper than in Iran, so they are definitely not interested in importing Iranian sections.”

Naseri claimed that owing to the quality of domestic brass sections, Iran doesn’t need to import. “About 25-30 thousand tonnes of brass tubes is produced and consumed per annum in Iran. Our nominal capacity is 500 tonnes per month, but we almost never operate at full capacity. Most producers in the industry are working below capacity. If demand grows, the existing producers can easily catch up.

Common sizes of brass sections are produced in Iran.

“Except some special sections (such as hollow 7 mm sections), most other types and dimensions are produced in Iran. The hollow 7 mm section requires special machinery and is produced by a small number of producers around the world; moreover, it is not highly consumed in Iran, making it less economical to produce. Our products range from 4.8 to 100 mm in thickness. Regarding shapes, we have round, hexagonal, and special profiles.”

The production of brass sections will grow.

“I believe that the outlook for the industry is promising and that production will grow. Construction, decorative industries, and automotive are major consumers of our projects. The automotive industry has a comparatively smaller share in consumption, but generally these industries are also growing. Moreover, Iranian products (especially faucets and chandeliers) are in high demand around the world; with the proper export environment, our industry will grow too. The domestic market is limited and prices are growing beyond the norm.

“Different alloys are used to produce brass sections, but it is usually made up of 58% copper, 40% zinc, and 2% lead; this changes for certain types of alloys.”

Government organizations must move along with national agendas.

We asked Naseri what his expectations are from the government: “We want to know how important the manufacturing sector really is to the government; we expect the government to act accordingly. If they indeed care about production, they should have their organizations support producers instead of hindering them. This year we received a threatening letter from the power company saying that those who use more than one megawatt had to have generators to be used during peak hours in the summer. Ironically, this year was named “Supporting National Production”. A power generator that could provide for our power consumption costs over one billion tomans; this is far from trivial for industries like ours. They used to send us a polite letter asking us to manage our power usage and they also would give us special discounts.”

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