New MD takes helm at Liverpool scrap giant 

Liverpool scrap recycler and global exporter, S Norton Group, has unveiled its new managing director following a restructure of the £490m turnover business. Tony McDonough reports

Tony Hayer
Tony Hayer, managing director of S Norton Group


Liverpool scrap giant S Norton Group has appointed a new managing director following a restructure of the business.

Based in Regent Road in the city’s northern docklands, the family-owned business also runs recycling operations in Manchester, London and Southampton. It collects, processes and distributes around 1.5m tonnes of recycled metals each year.

Founded in 1962 it recycles both ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal from sources such as car manufacturers, demolition companies, metal merchants, civic amenity sites and from the trade and general public.

S Norton exports to customers all over the world and recycles 95% of all materials it processes, with a target of sending zero waste to landfill.

Its most recent accounts were published in September 2022 and cover the year to December 31, 2021. They state the business benefited from “pent-up demand” as the world emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global demand for commodities soared and, at one point, ferrous scrap prices reached $(US)600 a tonne. This led to a 78% increase in turnover to £490m and an “unprecedented” rise in pre-tax profits from £23.6m to £66.8m.

However, in the accounts the company warned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and rising inflation had “once again caused uncertainty”. The impact of that will be clearer when S Norton publishes its accounts for 2022 in the autumn.

Now the business says Tony Hayer is being appointed as managing director to head up a “new era” for the business. He offers 20 years experience on major projects and joined the company in 2019.

Together with the board he has implemented new structures and systems to enable the company to focus on growth, increase its market share and support the delivery of sustainability goals for metal and plastic.

In particular he has looked to fully integrate the work of subsidiary, Axion Polymers, which was acquired in 2018. This has enabled S Norton to provide integrated end to end services for its customers for both metals and plastics.

Tony Hayer said: “We are positioning the company for the future building on its position as leaders in metals recycling innovation.

“We are committed to delivering a circular economy for waste metals, ensuring valuable raw materials are responsibly recycled and diverted from landfill.

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“That commitment is at the heart of our vision for the company, as we continue to improve our processes and push toward measurable outcomes that demonstrate sustainability, ethical business practices and social responsibility from grass roots up.”

The company has undertaken a number of projects to implement or improve recycling processes.

It has teamed up with Jaguar Land Rover to carry out an R&D project to refine the process of turning aluminium derived from end-of-life vehicles, into new raw materials for use in the automotive sector.

Finance director Graham Donohue added: “Tony understands the S Norton Group, the sector and the importance of growing the company from within while managing workflow and investment.

“I look forward to working with him as we drive the company into a really exciting period of growth.”

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