Aurubis CEO upbeat on outlook, still seeks flat rolled unit sale

Image: Aurubis

Aurubis AG expects high metal prices and strong copper product demand this year, the CEO of Europe’s largest copper producer said in a speech published on Wednesday.

Aurubis also continues to seek a sale of its flat rolled products (FRP) division, CEO Roland Harings said in the speech, which was prepared for delivery at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.

“There were more uncertainties in December,” Harings said in the speech, “Now, we can base our current outlook on a better market perspective as well as the successful first quarter.”

Aurubis on Feb. 5 confirmed an increased forecast for operating earnings before taxes of 270-330 million euros ($327-$400 million) for its 2020/21 fiscal year.

It expects the very good supply situation on the recycling market to continue, with refining charges for scrap metal at a very high level.

Aurubis “expects high metal prices to continue, with a positive effect on our metal result.”

Copper prices hit eight-year highs on Tuesday, as tight supply and US stimulus optimism underpinned sentiment.

Higher revenue from concentrate (copper ore) processing are also anticipated, Harings said.

“We anticipate a strong improvement in demand for our products overall,” he said.

Aurubis is pursuing a sale of its FRP division despite it making a positive contribution to its results, Harings said.

“We stand by our intention to sell the segment,” he said.

EU competition authorities in 2019 blocked a plan by Aurubis to sell the division to German products producer Wieland.

The process of selling to a potential buyer who must examine several sites in Europe and the U.S. is not easy during the coronavirus restrictions, Harings added.

(By Michael Hogan; Editing by Michelle Martin and Jason Neely)

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