CRANFORD, N.J. -- Metalico Inc. has completed the first phase of its acquisition of a controlling interest in AgriFuel Co., a privately held corporation organized to produce and market biofuels refined from waste vegetable oil, fats and agricultural feedstocks.

Metalico's investment will ultimately make it the holder of a majority of the shares of stock of AgriFuel and give it control over AgriFuel. The remaining shares of AgriFuel stock are owned by several independent investors.

Carlos E. Aguero, Metalico's chairman, president and CEO will serve as chairman of AgriFuel. Dylan K. Remley, an experienced executive in the delivered fuels industry, is AgriFuel's president.

Metalico has fully funded its previously announced purchase of AgriFuel common stock. By agreement with AgriFuel and its other charter stockholders, Metalico has the right to purchase additional shares as necessary to maintain a majority stake in AgriFuel's equity as other investors fulfill the initial subscription obligations. Upon completion of the initial round of funding, AgriFuel will have available cash of approximately $10 million.

AgriFuel focuses on biodiesel within the market for biofuels, which are alternatives to petroleum-based energy sources made from natural and renewable resources like soybeans and other oil-producing plant materials as well as spent vegetable oils and animal fats from restaurants. Biofuels are clean-burning fuels containing no petroleum that can be used in blends with distillate petroleum products or independently in motor vehicles and in certain home heating systems.

"As a consumer of conventional fuels in our scrap and lead operations, we're well aware of the risks and expenses of our dependence on foreign oil. And we know our country's appetite for energy will only grow," Aguero said. "Investing in AgriFuel gives us the opportunity to be a leader in America's quest for rational energy independence.

"It's also consistent with Metalico's overall green initiative," he added. "Metalico buys 25 percent of its electricity for our New York and New Jersey locations from regional wind farms that generate power from windmills. Our use of wind energy reduces the production of carbon dioxide by 680,000 pounds annually, which is the equivalent of planting nearly 46,000 trees.

"As a recycler of metals, we're also first and foremost in the resource conservation business."

Biodiesel is an alternative to various oil distillate products, including diesel and certain home heating oils, that can be used in a variety of diesel engines and home heating systems. Metalico has been using blends ranging from 20-percent to 80-percent biodiesel since June of 2005 to fuel most of the trucks and off-road heavy equipment used in its New York State operations.

AgriFuel contemplates investing in developmental-stage and existing plant production projects as well as the construction of its own facilities along the Eastern seaboard.

Metalico Inc. is a rapidly growing holding company with operations in two principal business segments: ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal recycling, and fabrication of lead-based products. The company operates seven recycling facilities through New York State and five lead fabrication plants in four states.

SOURCE: Metalico, Inc.via Business Wire.