Aurubis projects weaker copper concentrate market contracts next year and has left its 2020 copper premium unchanged at $96/t.
Conversely, the European non-ferrous and copper recycler predicts favorable market conditions for the copper scrap and sulphuric acid sectors. But the company concedes forecasting through this year has been onerous because of the short-term of the business.
Aurubis remains on course to become a multi-metal recycler with its acquisition of Metallo Group, the Belgian-Spanish recycling and refining firm, in May 2019. The acquisition is under review by the European antitrust authority, but Aurubis expects approval by April 2020.
Roland Harings, Aurubis’ executive board chairman, said the company intends to study overseas growth opportunities next year, while focusing internally on preventive maintenance to keep it profitable and sustainable.
The company’s 2019 earnings have been affected by impairment losses from copper inventories and noncurrent assets of flat rolled products, as well as planned and unplanned smelter shutdowns. It also noted that, while copper demand will be stable, headwinds facing the automotive sector will persist.
Aurubis expects an operating earnings before tax between €185-250mn ($206-278mn) and an operating ROCE between 8-11pc in 2019-20.