The Belgian metals group Umicore saw first-quarter revenues in its recycling division drop by 4 per cent on the back of lower sales in its industrial metals and jewellery segment. First and foremost, the weaker performance reflected lower industrial demand in Europe where the construction and automotive sectors had a difficult start to the year, the concern explained in a trading update issued on Monday.
Revenues from precious metals refining, on the other hand, were stable compared with the prior-year quarter. Increased intake of residues from the non-ferrous metals industry had compensated for the decreased availability of certain end-of-life products such as catalytic converters. While the availability of high-end e-scrap had remained stable, recycling fees had been put under pressure by increased competition, Umicore said.
Umicore had continued to recycle waste batteries at its Hoboken pilot plant, but the company was also testing the process for the recycling of other input materials. Additional modifications were planned for the smelter in the coming months, reported Umicore.