Belgium Umicore expects the thriving European electric vehicle market to boost its battery business in 2021, as the company expects “substantial” group-level growth on Thursday from last year.
The manufacturer of catalytic converters and battery materials For automakers, volume growth in its battery materials segment in 2021 is expected to “more than offset” the overcapacity and pricing pressures that weighed on it last year.
Managing Director Marc Grynberg told analysts Umicore is well positioned to take advantage of the electric vehicle surge in Europe.
The market share of electric vehicles based on new car registrations increased to 10.5% in the European Union in 2020 against 3% the previous year, according to data from the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers.
KBC analysts have indicated that the growing electric vehicle market is a potential driver of long-term growth for Umicore, which is also active in the energy and recycling sectors.
The group, which competes with Britain’s Johnson Matthey and Germany’s BASF, added that it expected to increase profits across all companies this year.
The automobile affected by the pandemic industry showed signs of recovery in the second half of last year, led by China, where car sales subsequently rose 30% in January.
This development is expected to boost results, particularly in Umicore’s catalysis business, he said.
The company added that its recycling business is also expected to benefit greatly from the high prices of precious metals.
Umicore also announced that it has started preparing for a CEO succession, with Grynberg, who has been in office since 2008, to stay until a successor is appointed. The group did not say how long it could take.
The company reported adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 536 million euros ($ 650 million) in 2020, up 5% from the previous year and above the consensus of 527 million euros.