Brussels — According to Umicore`s first half year results 2015, revenues were well up (+12 percent) compared to the same period last year reflecting strong growth in Catalysis and Energy & Surface Technologies. Higher demand coupled with an increased contribution from recent investments and – to a lesser extent – a favourable currency impact, led to a solid increase in recurring EBIT, which was up 24 percent. Umicore’s growth investments remained on track and capital expenditures amounted to € 100 million.
Major investments were successfully carried out in the Hoboken plant during an extended shutdown in the second quarter, as part of the program to increase capacity by 40 percent. The next investment wave will be completed by the end of the summer. Under current conditions, Umicore expects its full year recurring EBIT to be within the upper half of the previously stated range of € 310 – 340 million.
Revenues for Recycling stable
Revenues for Recycling were stable reflecting flat revenues in several business units. The recurring EBIT was up by 6 percent, primarily as a result of a better supply mix in Precious Metals Refining. Umicore expects that supply conditions will remain broadly similar for the remainder of the year and that the increased throughput rate after the current investment wave in Hoboken will compensate for the lost production days.
Revenues for Precious Metals Refining were flat, even though the extended shutdown in Hoboken resulted in a decrease in processed volumes compared to the same period last year. The impact of the shutdown on revenues was offset by an improvement in the supply mix for both industrial by-products and end-of-life materials. Industrial by-products were richer in PGMs and both segments benefited from higher-grade and more complex materials. This mix effect also had a positive impact on earnings.
Average received precious metal prices were higher year on year. Prices for most specialty metals continued to decline, particularly selenium and tellurium.
Capacity expansion progressing according to plan
The capacity expansion in Hoboken is progressing according to plan. The investments which were carried out during the extended shutdown in the second quarter were successfully completed and the next investment wave should be completed by the end of the summer. From a volume perspective it is anticipated that the plant will be able to make up for both shutdowns in 2015 and that overall volumes of processed materials will be largely similar to those in 2014. Additional investments in auxiliary services are planned in 2016 and are expected to be carried out without any prolonged stoppages of operations.
Revenues for Jewellery & Industrial Metals were stable year on year. The refining volumes were up due to good availability of silver and specialty materials residues. In the product businesses the picture was mixed: higher order levels for silver-based products for industrial applications was to a large extent offset by lower demand for lifestyle and investment products. The business unit is further expanding its capacity for silver refining in Bangkok, Thailand, to serve demand from its Asian customer base.
Revenues and sales volumes for Platinum Engineered Materials were stable year on year, while earnings benefited from a somewhat better product mix.
Stronger demand for precious metals
Precious Metals Management recorded higher revenues, driven by stronger demand for precious metals from the automotive industry. The contribution from the trading activities was also higher due to higher volatility in the precious metals markets.
Revenues and earnings for Technical Materials were down year on year as volumes suffered from strong substitution pressure and miniaturization trends in different end-markets. Also the reduced Chinese imports of European-produced equipment for electrical infrastructure had a negative impact on volumes. In response to this evolution, the business unit is taking targeted cost reduction measures.
Supply conditions will remain broadly
In general, Umicore expects that supply conditions will remain broadly similar for the remainder of the year and that the increased throughput rate after the current investment wave in Hoboken will compensate for the lost production days.