HomeBusinessEurope’s greatest copper producer says it has been sufferer of giant theft

Europe’s greatest copper producer says it has been sufferer of giant theft

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Europe’s greatest copper producer Aurubis is investigating suspected conspiracy between suppliers and workers after revealing that metals value tons of of hundreds of thousands of euros have been lacking from its inventories.

Shares within the firm dropped as a lot as 17 per cent on Friday morning in Frankfurt after its late-Thursday warning that it might miss its full-year revenue goal following its discovery of “legal exercise” that might lead to a “low three-digit-million-euro vary” hit.

Aurubis stated a company-wide investigation trying into whether or not suppliers had labored with workers to govern logs of scrap steel at its recycling enterprise was scheduled to conclude by the top of September, and that the police have been concerned.

“It’s arduous to provide concrete info earlier than the investigation concludes,” a spokesperson advised the Monetary Instances, including that given the volumes concerned, the alleged theft was prone to embody metal-bearing supplies equivalent to scrap electronics and different valuable metals.

The Hamburg-based firm, which made €18.5bn in revenues final yr, is Europe’s largest copper smelting and recycling group with processing websites throughout the area, together with a big complicated within the south of its residence metropolis.

Aurubis doesn’t mine for ore itself however has carved a enterprise out of recycling steel concentrates, scrap metals and metal-bearing recycling supplies from mining and electronics corporations. Its web site states that it sources steel concentrates from “over 30 mining companions and some merchants”.

The corporate was raided by the police in June in an investigation associated to lacking items value €20mn that resulted within the arrest of six folks, a few of whom have been employed by the corporate.

Aurubis stated the 2 instances weren’t believed to be associated. The general public prosecutor in Hamburg stated it was continuing with its case towards 12 defendants associated to the “in depth searches” that happened in June.

The scandal is the most recent to rock the metals business, elevating questions on its adherence to compliance, oversight and safety protocols to restrict the prevalence of fraud and theft.

International commodity buying and selling group Trafigura this yr accused a dealer of masterminding a $590mn nickel fraud whereas in a separate scandal, luggage of nickel in London Steel Trade warehouses have been discovered to have been packed stuffed with stones as a substitute. The business’s fame has additionally been tainted by a string of frauds and thefts in China in recent times.

The corporate stated that for the reason that June raid it had began implementing extra safety measures, together with extra random checks and tighter controls at gates the place lorries enter and depart with metals.

The corporate stated on Thursday it might miss its earlier steerage of €450mn to €550mn in pre-tax earnings for the 2023 monetary yr due to the alleged theft. It added that will have the ability to take in the losses, which might not have an effect on its capital expenditure or progress plans.

German steelmaker Salzgitter, which owns 30 per cent of Aurubis, on Thursday additionally suspended its full-year steerage, saying it might give shareholders additional info as soon as the copper producer had concluded its investigation and given extra particulars on the size of the theft.

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