As a consequence of the outlined megatrends, new technologies in the environmental sector have seen a huge boom. This results in attractive investment opportunities for Layton. Generally we make sure that the products and services of potential portfolio companies satisfy needs resulting from changes in economic and societal framework conditions. We pay particular attention to the following trends:

  • The efficient generation and use of energy
  • The careful use of natural resources
  • The challenges with climate change
  • Growing mobility

However, good investment opportunities can be found in other sectors as well.

Accompany us on an exciting journey to new investment sectors – our experts combine knowledge and entrepreneurship in first-class and profitable portfolios.


Recycling / resource recovery

The main focus of Layton SA remains in the domain of resource recovery – the demand for raw materials is directly related to economic growth and the resulting growth of the global production of consumer products. In combination with increasing costs for the primary production of raw materials and the continued demand for them, urban mining / recycling is not just an alternative to the extraction of raw materials; it is a peremptory necessity in the foreseeable future.


E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in industrialised states. There is a high level of potential offered with its recycling. However, a recycling infrastructure, and professional knowledge among those who use it, is a prerequisite for recovery.




Layton seeks to identify investment opportunities in companies which are characterised by innovation and sustainable behaviour.


The raw materials market

The foundations of our prosperity are crumbling

Primary raw materials are natural resources which have not undergone any processing until they are processed from their natural source. They are gathered from nature because of their utility value and either consumed directly or used as a working tool / raw materials for further production processing stages. Primary raw materials which originate in delineation from natural sources are, when they are recycled from already acquired raw materials, designated secondary raw materials.

People have made gigantic efforts to promote the use of raw materials: digging tunnels thousands of metres deep, drilling holes in the ground, blowing up mountains, digging laboriously in the sand.

However, there are more intelligent ways to get these coveted raw materials: in household and industrial waste there are massive gold and silver deposits – especially in discarded electrical appliances. And a lot of them, at that: 40 million tonnes of electronic devices end up in the waste worldwide every year.

Recovery with the help of the latest technology would improve the situation with raw materials resources considerably. The yield would be many times greater than e.g. in mountain mines; to get 3-5 grammes of gold, mining companies move up to 10 tonnes of ore. The environmental impacts are devastating.

The yield of one tonne of e-waste: up to 250g gold!

Deposits on scrapheaps: these include millions of computer circuit boards, which contain up to 250 grammes of gold per tonne – 50x what you can get from the Kalgold mine.

Two-digit market growth

The more expensive the raw materials, the more attractive the recovery of electrical and electronic waste is. Urban mining uses the city as a source of raw materials. Thus we see a new branch of the economy.

Even high production quotas such as those of the Kalgold mine in South Africa, where five grammes can be obtained per tonne, are puny compared to the treasures that can be found in piles of rubbish: you can find millions of computer circuit boards here, which contain up to 250 grammes of gold per tonne – 50x what you get from the Kalgold mine.

Europe is poor in natural resources. But large, untapped deposits still slumber in unexpected places: in landfills, in buildings and in infrastructures such as traffic, drink and waste water networks, as well as electricity, gas and district heating networks. The greater the prices of raw materials increase, the more attractive it becomes to exploit the urban mines. Urban mining is what it’s called.


The daily updated raw metals prices from the London Metal Exchange.

The daily updated raw metals prices from the London Metal Exchange.


Global raw materials situation

An ending story – but there are solutions

Limited availability – the growth in the world’s population and changes in consumer behaviour (especially in emerging markets), as well as careless handling of raw materials in our throwaway society, have resulted in an increasing raw materials scarcity. This is especially evident with fossil-based energy raw materials, for these cannot grow back again nor can they be recycled. The raw materials that we get are included in the market. Naturally occuring raw materials are not available in unlimited quantities, yet the growth increases as the world’s population grows. The Layton group operates at garbage dumps, e-waste sites and slag and dross landfills. Due to the high purity of our raw materials, such as copper, aluminium, steel, gold or silver, we are able to achieve high prices without being a further burden on nature.

With the continued demand, natural deposits are becoming increasingly scarce, and this leads to increases in raw materials prices. There are multiple solutions for countering this trend:

    Reducing the raw materials content in products (recyclables management)
    Recovery of raw materials from e-waste, landfills,
      slags or metal dross as well as production-related waste

The natural resources of this planet will be depleted at some point. The increasing demand and the decreasing incidence mean that prices continuously go up.

Demand Driver: Demography

These days, on average, another 3 people are born on this planet every second. By 2020 it is expected that around 500 million people will have been born, 75% of them in Asia. The UN has calculated that the world’s population will have increased from what is currently 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. That‘s 2 billion people (30%) more than today, which means that, over the next 38 years, an average of around 1 million people per week will be arriving in this world.
There is also another trend to mention: the urbanisation trend i.e. people are increasingly moving from rural and underdeveloped areas into towns. In towns, the per-head consumption rate of raw materials is significantly greater than in the country. According to relevant calculations, in the year 2050 a total of 6.5 billion people will be living in urban areas (“cities”) – it’s already 3.5 billion today. That’s 3 billion new people – 86% more than today, which means that, during the next 38 years, an average of around 1.5 million more people will be living in cities every week.

Demand Driver: Prosperity

The demand for raw materials doesn’t just increase as a result of a continuously growing world population; it also increases in qualitative terms – with higher wealth / income, consumption habits include raw materials more. People who run today will be buying a bike tomorrow – people who ride a bike today will be getting into a car tomorrow.

The more people who have an income in the world, and the more this income increases, the greater the demand for raw materials is as well. The World Bank estimates that the per head income in emerging markets will double compared to in OECD countries. In fact, the real disposable per capita income in Asia went up by 90% in the years 1999-2009.

Countries which soar and develop require raw materials. No raw materials – no development. No development – no prosperity.

Demand Driver: Infrastructure

The trend of increasing urbanisation (in emerging markets in particular) will also increase the demand dynamic for raw materials. In the age of the Internet and smartphones, however, raw materials also determine the everyday life of affluent citizens, which the worldwide expansion of infrastructure has certainly made clear over the past decades (today – yes, today – in the USA the Internet alone takes up more than 10% of the total US energy supply). New markets and industries, as well as emerging countries, require (more than anything else) buildings, structures and transport systems such as streets, railways, inland waterways and airports, as well as countless new systems which inter alia guarantee a water and electricity supply.
So you can see how all these emerging economies, markets and people are increasingly demanding raw materials. The growing number of people makes e.g. water infrastructure ever more urgent – only approx. 80% of the world’s population has access to clean water and only 60% access to sanitation facilities. It is expected that, over the next 20 years, the OECD countries will be spending an annual volume of around 600 billion dollars on worldwide infrastructure – just to ensure the supply of water. The OECD also estimates that China alone will have invested a total of around 2,000 billion dollars in systems for energy production and distribution by 2030.

Demand Driver: Limited Offer

In addition to the increasing demand from every nook and cranny in this world, it is also to be realised that the offer of raw materials cannot be increased in any way, even arbitrarily. Firstly, many natural resources are not renewable, but are just in limited supply (“scarce”). Secondly, most of the largest raw materials sites have already been discovered.

There are certainly still some undiscovered deposits, and it is already known that Planet Earth continues to produce new sites. The only problem is that our planet requires several million years before new sites are formed – and that most of the already existing deposits have already been exploited. This is the reason why it is so widely argued that our raw materials are limited in quantity even though they de facto“grow” i.e. continually form in the Earth’s crust.





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