The revenue growth, which was in part driven by the ramp-up of recent growth investments, was the main factor behind the EBIT growth of 21%. Non recurring elements amounted to a charge of € 63 million to net earnings relating primarily to restructuring measures and impairments of permanently tied-up metal inventories.
Compared to other divisions, Recycling at Umicore had a weak year. Revenues and earnings were down 2% and 5% respectively, reflecting the impact of lower metal prices and lower demand in certain end-markets of the Platinum Engineered Materials and Technical Materials business units.
Umicore expects significant volume increases in its strategic growth platforms of clean mobility and recycling in 2016. Sales of automotive catalysts are set to benefit from strengthening demand in both light and heavy duty applications while the accelerating trend towards vehicle electrification should drive sales of rechargeable battery materials higher. Processed volumes at the Hoboken recycling operations are also set to increase following the completion of the main investment wave in 2015.
Metal prices are currently at lower levels than the average of last year. Given the high level of market volatility it is too early to estimate what impact metal prices might have on the anticipated benefits from the strong volume growth.