- Resolution passed for dividend of € 1.25 per share
- Recycling and multi-metal growth strategy confirmed
- Environmental investments of around € 100 million planned at the Hamburg site
- Aurubis has carbon-neutral production firmly in its sights – appropriate political conditions urgently necessary
The shareholders at the Aurubis AG Annual General Meeting passed a resolution on a dividend of € 1.25 (previous year: € 1.55) per share. This is an increase of the payout ratio to 41 % (previous year: 26 %) of the operating consolidated net result. The dividend yield amounts to 3.1 % (previous year: 2.6 %). The shareholders at the Annual General Meeting thus followed the recommendation of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board.
Roland Harings: “Fiscal year 2018/19 was a transitional year”
Roland Harings, CEO of Aurubis AG since July 1, 2019, reported at the Annual General Meeting on the past fiscal year, which he described as a transitional year for Aurubis. At € 192 million, operating EBT was down about 40 % on the previous year, which, the Aurubis AG CEO added, had nevertheless been one of the best in the company’s history. In addition to higher energy costs, he attributed negative impacts to one-off effects from unplanned shutdowns and an impairment loss in Segment Flat Rolled products (FRP), as well as write-downs following the halt of the Future Complex Metallurgy (FCM) project. On the other hand, a receivable arising from the prohibited sale of Segment FRP was recognized. In total, this had an € 85 million impact on the result, according to Roland Harings: “Without these one-off effects, the result would have been nearly € 280 million.”
Aurubis will strengthen and expand its core business
In his speech, the CEO outlined where he sees Aurubis in three years. He emphasized that the company was on the right track with its multi-metal strategy and that it wanted to continue expanding its good market position in the various value chains: “Because the world needs our products, our metals. They are the foundation of the energy transition, of the clean vehicles of tomorrow – they are the key to how we will all do business in the future, better and more sustainably in line with nature.”
For this purpose, Roland Harings wants to strengthen Aurubis’ different business areas. Thanks to the company’s integrated smelter network and metallurgical expertise, Harings said, it will be possible to process complex concentrates to a greater extent: “We already recover important non-ferrous metals from the raw materials that we use as input. And we do this in an efficient, environmentally sound manner across multiple sites. Each one of our sites has its own specialization and its own strengths.” There are also considerable opportunities in the recycling business in the future, he said. He views acquisitions, such as that of the Belgian-Spanish company Metallo, which is currently still subject to approval by the European Commission, as an important step.
The CEO also maintains the objective of selling the flat rolled segment.
Investments in environmental protection planned
In his speech, Roland Harings underlined the significance of environmental protection for Aurubis. Aurubis is already one of the cleanest copper smelters in the world. In the next three years, the company wants to “raise the bar even higher when it comes to environmentally sound production.”
He announced planned investments of around € 100 million for measures to continue reducing emissions in the primary smelter at the Hamburg plant. This extends from optimized suctioning of emission sources to a newly installed procedure to process intermediate products, as well as state-of-the-art suctioning and filter technology to capture residual dust emissions. “When our plans are fully implemented,” Harings stated, “we can increase the proportion of complex raw materials and we will reduce fugitive emissions from the primary smelter by more than 70 %. All of this contributes to our Sustainability Strategy – and makes the site ready for the future in the long term.”
Aurubis also supports the European Union’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. Roland Harings is convinced: “We have to make our production processes as carbon-neutral as possible – as fast as possible!” At the same time, he called on policymakers to create the right conditions for sourcing hydrogen and green electricity, for example, at competitive prices compared to other continents. He also said that there must be a guarantee that industry projects to reduce CO2 are fully offset. Harings urged, “Policymakers finally have to decide how they want to achieve the energy transition. Giving up conventional energy sources little by little isn’t a solution.” He continued, “If the right political conditions are established, we could become nearly carbon-neutral in a decade already. A goal that we as Europeans should strive to attain.”
Cost efficiency comes more strongly into focus
Internally, Roland Harings wants to continue the efficiency improvement program, which he said had achieved sustainable successes thus far – now, however, it will have a clear focus on cost reduction and be implemented under the name Performance Improvement Program (PIP). The company is currently developing a catalogue of measures for the program; the measures will then be successively carried out until the end of fiscal year 2022/23.
Shareholders grant formal approval to Executive Board and Supervisory Board
At the end of the Annual General Meeting, the shareholders granted formal approval to the Executive Board and Supervisory Board. The shareholders passed all of the other resolutions that were up for a vote with the necessary majority. In total, 68.4 % of the share capital with voting rights was present.
The full manuscript of the CEO’s speech and additional information about the Annual General Meeting are available here.