Metals mining and smelter company Umicore notched all-time record revenues and earnings in 2021 due to the high prices of precious metals, with recycling revenue increasing by one-third.
The company’s recycling division, which handles scrap circuit boards and other feedstock streams, posted record revenues and earnings, significantly above the previous record levels of 2020, a press release said.
Recycling revenue increased 33% to 1.11 billion euros ($1.26 billion; all amounts below in U.S. dollars) and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased 58% to $649 million.
In 2020, recycling revenue was $947 million and adjusted EBIT was $410 million.
Umicore recovers a number of metals from scrap materials at its smelting and refining complex in Hoboken, Belgium, including printed circuit boards (PCBs) from North America. In 2019, the company said a substantial portion of PCBs come from markets outside Europe, including North America.
Total company revenues for 2021 grew by 22% to $4.5 billion and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 56% to $1.4 billion.
While all three business groups of the company – catalysis, energy and surface technologies, and recycling – had “strong underlying operational performance,” a press release highlighted the “exceptional precious metal price environment.”
CEO Mathias Miedreich said in the press release that the complementary nature of the three business areas have “proven to be a true competitive edge.”
“In energy and surface technologies and catalysis we serve the automotive market by enabling electrification on a mass scale and by offering cutting-edge technologies for clean combustion engines,” Miedreich said. “Through our recycling activities, we close our and our customers’ materials loop and offer a unique sustainable and circular approach that will be ever more important in a world of raw materials scarcity.”
Umicore expects another strong performance in 2022, the press release said, despite inflation and “provided that geopolitical developments, the pandemic or supply-chain constraints will not result in additional material disruptions to the economy or Umicore’s operations.”
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