The Belgian metallurgical group Umicore achieved significantly higher revenues and record profits from its recycling activities last year. According the group's annual figures which were released on Wednesday, recycling division revenues rose by a third to €1.1bn in 2021. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) increased by as much as 58 per cent to €573m.
Umicore attributed its revenue and earnings growth to continued strong and resilient operational performance and high activity levels in all of its business units, a strong contribution from trading activities and "an exceptional precious metals price environment", with platinum group metals (PGM) prices peaking in the first half of the year. The precious metals refining business unit was able to take full advantage of the high price level by optimizing the intake of complex PGM-rich feedstock materials.
In 2022, the recycling division expects to continue to benefit from a “supportive supply mix” and “robust volumes" in precious metal refining. However, Umicore forecasts that current year precious metal volumes will only approach the levels of the prior year because of a maintenance shutdown planned for the second half.