Brussels — Presenting its full year results, Umicore reported earnings for 2014 that were fully in line with its guidance. Recurring EBIT was € 274 million. This was 10 percent lower than in 2013 due to the impact of lower metal prices and currency headwinds. Umicore indicated that it expects profitability to improve in 2015 driven by further growth in Catalysis and Energy Materials in particular. Marc Grynberg, CEO, said: „We continue to invest strongly in our major growth initiatives linked to themes such as recycling and clean mobility. We are starting to see a number of these investments bear fruit and this should become more visible for Umicore in 2015 and beyond.“
Umicore also announced that it is reviewing its portfolio of activities and assessing options to optimize growth and value creation potential. A process has been initiated to prepare its Zinc Chemicals and Building Products business units for a future outside the Umicore Group. These units have improved profitability significantly and are in a strong position to develop further in an environment that is specifically aligned with their respective products, services and applications. Umicore also intends to house its Electro-Optic Materials and Thin Film Products activities in distinct legal entities to enable strategic alliances aimed at accelerating growth. The intention is to implement the portfolio realignment by the end of 2016, subject to market opportunities.
Revenues and recurring EBIT for Recycling were down 10 percent and 30 percent respectively, mainly due to the impact of lower metal prices. Lower demand in certain endmarkets of e business units Jewellery & Industrial Metals and Precious Metals Management also had a negative impact on revenues and profitability of the business group. Supply conditions are anticipated to be broadly similar to 2014. The expected downtime due to the expansion investments in Hoboken should be compensated by an increased underlying throughput.
Revenues and earnings for the business group Catalysts were up 6 percent and 13 percent respectively, driven by increases in Automotive Catalysts in contrast to lower revenues and earnings in Precious Metals Chemistry. The ramp-up of Heavy Duty Diesel (HDD) catalyst production in Europe and China and further growth in demand for emission abatement for light duty vehicles should drive revenues and earnings higher for Catalysis in 2015.
Revenues for the business unit Precious Metals Chemistry were lower year on year. This was due to lower order levels forprecursors used in catalytic applications, particularlyin the Brazilian automotive market which contractedsignificantly in 2014. Demand for precursors used innon-catalytic applications were up compared to theprevious year with demand increasing in the secondhalf. This was particularly the case for bulk chemical applications, for example in the synthesis of silicones.Sales of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients continued to show good volume growth and thebusiness unit is successfully securing sales contracts in the European and Asia-Pacific markets.
Revenues and recurring EBIT for the business group Energy Materials increased by 11 percent and 59 percent respectively as a result of the acquisitions in Cobalt & Specialty Materials, volume growth in all business units and efficiency improvements. Revenues and profitability are set to increase further reflecting the contribution of recently acquired activities as well as demand growth in all business units.
Revenues for Performance Materials were down 3 percent year on year. Recurring EBIT increased by 12 percent reflecting a higher contribution from Element Six Abrasives and as a result of cost reduction measures that were initiated in 2013. Revenues are expected to grow broadly in line with GDP.
Source: Umicore Group