HomeSilver BullionSilver BarsAsahi Silver Bars
The latest silver bars to hit the market come from the newly formed Asahi Refining, which took over gold and silver refining operations from Johnson Matthey. Launched in 2015, Asahi Refining produces investment-grade silver bars are already available on the market. These all-new silver bars have familiar designs and all Asahi Refining processes are certified by the London Bullion Market Association, lending credibility and value to their products among investors.
Asahi Silver Bars were made possible by the exit of British-controlled Johnson Matthey from the gold and silver refining industry. Originally founded in 1807 by Percival Norton Johnson, the company started as one man’s gold assayer business in London. In 1851, Johnson teamed up with George Matthey to form the Johnson & Matthey brand, earning the appointment of Official Assayer and Refiner to the Bank of England within a year. The company originally operated branches in Birmingham and Sheffield in the United Kingdom.
Over the course of 160 years, the company’s business line diversified to include a variety of operations such as specialist chemistry and sustainable technologies. Today, the company boast a multinational array of operations that included its gold and silver refining facilities in North America. However, in December 2014 the company announced plans to divest itself from that industry.
Into this void stepped Asahi Holdings of Japan. The company, based in Tokyo and operating major locations in the Japanese capital city and Kobe, has its own rich heritage in the precious metals industry. Asahi Holdings is technically a precious metals recycling firm, specializing in the collection, recovery, and refinement of precious and rare metals like gold, silver, palladium, and platinum.
Founded in Tokyo in 1952, Asahi Holdings’ operations in Japan also include the manufacture and sale of precious metal alloys, chemicals used in the plating process, electrolytic recover equipment, and analysis of precious and rare metals.
Following the December 2014 announcement of its divestment from the precious metals industry, Johnson Matthey identified Asahi Holdings as the company buying its operations in North America to continue serving investors around the globe with LBMA Good Delivery gold and silver products. In March 2015, Asahi Holdings officially founded Asahi Refining as its precious metals production subsidiary, and in July 2015 the transaction was finalized between the two companies.
In the deal, which saw Asahi Holdings purchase Johnson Matthey facilities for $186 million (USD), the new Asahi Refining took possession of three separate facilities from Johnson Matthey in North America. Its operational refineries in Salt Lake City, Utah (USA) and Brampton, Ontario (Canada) were transferred to Asahi and began operating under the combined brand of Asahi Refining. A third facility in St. Catharines, which conducted investment-grade castings, was also transferred to Asahi. This facility now conducts the same operations for Asahi Refining, and operates under the name Niagara Investment Castings as a division of Asahi Refining Canada Limited.
Although the deal for Asahi’s purchase of Johnson Matthey facilities was not officially finalized until July 2015, Asahi Refining had taken control of all three facilities in March 2015. Refining and production was already underway at all three facilities, which kept the 340 individuals employed under Johnson Matthey for a smooth transition of power and no interruption of workflow and production.
The first silver bars to leave the refinery were the Asahi 100 oz Silver Bars. Reminiscent of the Johnson Matthey 100 oz Silver Bars, these new Asahi Silver Bars bear few markings and a matte finish that make for the perfect investment product. Each bar features engravings only on the obverse side of each bar.
Asahi 100 oz Silver Bars have markings arranged vertically from the top of the bar to the bottom. At the top of the bar is the new Asahi Refining logo, which consists of an oval with outer-edge wording and engravings in the center. Along the outer edge you’ll find the words “Asahi SLC,” with “Assayers, Refiners” engraved in the center of the logo.
There are no intricate designs along the length of the bar, just a simple matte finish. The bottom of the bar has an engraving of the weight, the purity of the bar, and an assayer’s mark from the refinery. Each Asahi 100 oz Silver Bar has the classic rectangular shape and trapezoid design of large-weight investment-grade bars, making them easy to stack and store.
With 160 years of experience in the precious metals industry, Johnson Matthey had a well-established Good Delivery status with the LBMA. When Asahi Holdings purchased Johnson Matthey’s gold and silver refining operations, its status as a Good Delivery brand with the LBMA was automatically transferred to Asahi Refining. As a result, Asahi Refining is now a certified London Good Deliver refiner, and also a certified LBMA responsible gold compliant producer.
In the future, investors can expect to see a variety of Good Deliver bars produced by the new Asahi Refining. In order for Asahi Refining Silver Bars to qualify for Good Deliver status, they must meet certain refining standards. These standards include the following elements:
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