Umicore has announced that it now expects its recurring EBIT for the full year 2019 to be in a range of €475 million to €525 million.

This guidance reportedly reflects positive developments in the company’s Catalysis and Recycling segments, while the Energy & Surface Technologies business group faces challenging market conditions in its key end-markets and delays of 12 to 18 months in the development of its cathode materials sales.

According to the company, in China, demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has considerably decreased from the levels of the second half of 2018. The same trend is observed in the e-bus segment. In Korea, following a series of safety incidents, a significant fraction of installed energy storage systems has been shut down and more recently, the production of any new systems has stopped. As well as this, revenues and margins for the business group have been impacted by a depressed cobalt price as well as the inflow of cobalt from artisanal mining which enables several competitors to sell cobalt containing products at discounted prices, Umicore says. The company has a strict policy of not sourcing any such cheaper units of cobalt from artisanal operations as these involve unsafe and unhealthy working conditions and very often child labor.

‘I am confident that our strategy to be a leader in clean mobility materials and recycling provides a clear and promising roadmap for the growth of the company over the next decades,’ said Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore. ‘In the short term, I am disappointed that, despite our advocacy efforts and the evidence that a clean value chain exists, artisanal cobalt continues to find its way to end products through multiple supply chains. We will not compromise when it comes to promoting a more sustainable rechargeable battery value chain.’

This story uses material from Umicore, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.