HISTORY

Amalgamated Metal Trading Limited (AMT) can trace its ancestry back to the founding members of the LME.

 

During the two world wars, and indeed during the inter war years, the British Government relied upon members of the AMC Group to maintain supplies of non-ferrous metals to the British industry.

At one stage, the AMC Group owned four companies that traded in the Ring. However, in 1975 their activities were consolidated into one Company, Amalgamated Metal Trading Limited.

AMT and the LME

Amalgamated Metal Trading’s family tree goes back to the early days of the metals business even though the name does not feature until late in the story. As will be seen, AMT is directly descended from predecessors who played a major part in the foundation and history of the London Metal Exchange.

In the middle of the 19th century arrival times of ships after long and hazardous voyages were unpredictable, so metal merchants started to gather in City coffee houses, buying and selling metal for forward delivery dates and a number of brokers set up offices in the City of London.

At that time there were many smelters in the UK, and one of the largest, producing copper and probably lead and zinc, was the Swansea based Vivian & Sons, founded about 100 years earlier. They had a London office run by one of the partners, Edward Budd, whose staff included two Cornishmen, Edward Younger and James Vivian.

In 1860 Vivian and Younger formed a partnership and started on their own as metal brokers. A year later they were joined by Frank Bond, although his name was not added to the partnership until 1866. By that time they and a number of other brokers and merchants were meeting every afternoon at the Royal Exchange.

This was the very beginning of the LME, and led to the formation of the London Metal Exchange Company Limited by a committee of ten in January 1877. F.W. Bond of Vivian Younger & Bond and R. Zunz of the merchant company Henry R. Merton & Co were both on this original committee, and both companies feature prominently in the early family tree of Amalgamated Metal Corporation.

In 1883 Cecil Budd, son of Edward Budd of Vivian & Co, joined Vivian Younger & Bond (VYB). He was to be a key figure in the fortunes of that company, of the future British Metal Corporation and of the LME over the next 40 years. He became Chairman of the Exchange in 1902 and remained at the helm in that post for the next 27 years. For part of that time Mr. Henry Gardner of H.R. Merton was his Vice Chairman.

H.R. Merton was a major supplier to the British industry and the Merton family was of German stock.  During the First World War the UK Government recognised that this presented a potential ‘conflict of interest’ and the Company was closed and went into voluntary liquidation in 1918. Mr. Gardner took over the business and the staff, and Henry Gardner & Co was established.

In 1918 the British Metal Corporation (BMC) was formed as a group of companies with the object of ensuring greater British participation and continuity in the supply of metals to British industry. Cecil Budd was appointed Managing Director, so VYB naturally worked closely with BMC and in 1922 became part of the group. To consolidate their positions further, the two groups – BMC, with its strength in agencies for Australia and Africa, and Henry Gardner & Co, with strong links to Canada – joined forces in 1929 to form a holding company, Amalgamated Metal Corporation, which purchased the shares of the two companies. When LME contracts were suspended, in 1939, at the start of the second World War, the Ministry of Supply set up a Control Department for non-ferrous metals based in a requisitioned hotel in Rugby. This was run and staffed by BMC with the help of key personnel from VYB and Henry Gardner & Co.

In 1966 the Sternberg group was incorporated into AMC, and this meant that the group could now boast four independently operated ring dealing companies on the LME. Nowadays market rules only allow one member of any group of companies to be represented in the ring. In fact the group’s London companies were brought together to trade under the AMC name on 1 January 1972 and in 1975 AMT was established as the Corporation’s specialist broker to carry on the LME tradition started a century earlier.

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