Recycling specialist: Aurubis again the victim of an alleged metal theft

Recycling specialist: Aurubis again the victim of an alleged metal theft

Electronics contain a lot of metal that is recycled in the growing circular economy. Valuable precious metals are also accumulated, which arouses the desires of criminals.

For the second time this year, the Hamburg-based copper manufacturer and recycling specialist Aurubis has been the victim of an alleged metal theft. The damage this time could amount to a three-digit million amount. It was only announced in June that a gang of thieves had stolen intermediate products containing precious metals from the company for years, generating proceeds of around 20 million euros.

It is very likely that there is no connection between the two cases, an Aurubis spokesman told the German Press Agency on Friday. “But we can’t rule it out with absolute certainty.” The spokesman did not want to make any assumptions about the possible group of perpetrators. In view of the “high standards customary in the industry” for security, “the extent to which internal perpetrators are involved” will also be examined. It is still unclear which metals are involved in detail. Since the recycling area is affected, valuable precious metals could also be involved in addition to copper, said the spokesman for the dpa.

“Significant deviations from the target stock”

Aurubis is a leading company for the recycling of copper, precious metals and other non-ferrous metals, which are hidden in a wide variety of metal-bearing consumer and durable goods such as electronic devices. “We have specialized in extracting valuable metals from even the most complex recycling raw materials, reprocessing them and reintroducing them into the material cycle,” says a company presentation. In addition to copper, lead, nickel and zinc, recycling also produces gold and silver or platinum and palladium.

On Thursday evening, Aurubis announced that when checking the metal stock, “considerable deviations from the target stock as well as deviations from special samples of certain deliveries of input materials in the recycling area were found”. Based on these indications, it can be assumed that “the company has become the subject of further criminal acts – going beyond the cases published in June 2023”. According to Aurubis, it has turned on the State Criminal Police Office.

The extent of the damage cannot yet be determined with certainty and is now to be determined in an extraordinary inventory of the metal stocks. The result is expected at the end of September 2023. It cannot currently be ruled out that damage in the “low, three-digit” million range has occurred. The damage will weigh on the result for the 2022/23 financial year.

turmoil in the stock market

The forecast corridor for the current 2022/23 financial year of 450 million to 550 million euros can therefore not be maintained. The news caused concern among investors on the stock market, and the Aurubis share fell to EUR 62.50 on Friday. They last cost less in early November 2022.

The Salzgitter steel group also withdrew its earnings forecast for the current year on Friday. With almost 30 percent, Salzgitter is the largest single shareholder at Aurubis.

According to Aurubis, it is the world’s leading supplier of non-ferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers in the world. In mid-June, the Hamburg public prosecutor’s office had more than 30 properties in Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Hesse searched for metal theft at Aurubis. The public prosecutor’s office announced at the time that six men had been arrested. The accused and other, as yet unknown, accomplices are said to have stolen several tons of by-products from copper production containing precious metals from the company premises in different ways.

Source: Stern

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