Belgian metallurgical group Umicore reported sharply higher figures for its recycling division in the 2020 calendar year on Thursday. Both revenues and earnings for the year increased significantly annual comparison. While revenues increased by almost a quarter to €836m, the recycling segment's earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) jumped more than 60 per cent to €311m. The division had nearly doubled its adjusted operating earnings, which jumped from €188m in 2019 to € 362m last year, according to Umicore's annual financial report.
These "record earnings" reflected strong growth across all business units of the Recycling division, Umicore said. But its Precious Metals Refining business unit had also been boosted by an "exceptional" price environment for the platinum group metals (PGMs). Despite the Covid-19 crisis, the division's activity levels had been high.
Umicore reported historically high and volatile prices for the PGM metals. Rhodium prices, in particular, had risen sharply in the second half of the year amid tight supply and heavy demand from the auto industry. The segment had also benefited from favourable trading conditions. Processing volumes were higher than in the prior-year when Umicore had dealt with a prolonged maintenance shutdown.