The German primary and secondary copper producer Aurubis returned to profitability in its second financial quarter. Operating earnings before taxes (EBT) adjusted for a number of valuation effects stood at €31m after the company had posted a loss of €2.5m in the first quarter, which ran from October 2013 to the end of the calendar year. The company said on Wednesday that it had especially profited from the increasing treatment and refining charges for copper concentrates and higher cathode premiums as well as a recovery in the market for continuous cast wire and shapes. At the same time, the weak demand for sulphuric acid and the continued low refining charges for secondary materials had had an adverse impact on performance.
Accordingly, Aurubis faced another, substantial drop in earnings from its recycling/precious metals business unit. The operating EBT reached €0.6m for the second quarter after standing at €5m in the first quarter. For the first financial half, the recycling/precious metals business unit generated revenues of €2.02bn and an operating EBT of €5.5m. That represented a decrease of 18 and 83 per cent, respectively, compared to the figures for the prior-year period.
In addition to the weaker refining charges for copper scrap, the reduction in the amount of scrap offered for sale due to the lower copper prices hurt earnings. While scrap availability remained low, the availability of industrial residues and electronic scrap was described as "satisfactory again". Overall, the concern's recycling capacities could be fully utilised, said Aurubis. The concern saw no signs of an impending improvement of the tight market situation.