Aurubis sees focus on internal growth, still open to takeovers

HAMBURG, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Aurubis AG, Europe's biggest copper smelter, is placing major focus on internal growth in its new corporate strategy to expand into other metals but is still open to acquisitions, CEO Juergen Schachler said on Wednesday.

“We will continue to examine external growth and joint ventures,” Schachler told a telephone press conference about the company’s financial results.

He said discussions about external growth are being held and that metals recycling companies are one possibility in view.

Asked about geographical areas of focus, he said “worldwide”.

Aurubis in March announced a new corporate strategy, called Vision 2025, saying it planned to branch out into production of other non-ferrous metals while also expanding its geographical presence.

The company had previously provided few on details on the strategic push but Schachler in October said Aurubis has 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in its war chest to expand through acquisitions.

Aurubis plans to make use of its expertise to expand processing of complex copper concentrates (ores) and scrap, Schachler said. The aim would be to extract the non-copper metals they contain.

Competition in the market for standard copper production is expected to heat up in coming years as expanded global smelter capacity leads to greater competition for supplies of standard copper concentrate grades, he said.

Aurubis on Wednesday said it expects stable earnings in its new year despite an uncertain trading environment after posting a 39 percent rise in fiscal fourth-quarter operating earnings.

($1 = 0.8514 euros)

(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Ludwig Burger)