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Full Year Results 2023

Rechargeable Battery Materials

Umicore continued to deliver strong cash flows and margins in a tough year, while significantly stepping up investments for future growth.


Catalysis1 delivered record results for the third consecutive year. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to € 436 million, up 4% compared to the previous year. The Business Group’s performance was mostly driven by Automotive Catalysts. Sales volumes and revenues for the business unit increased, benefiting from a rebound in the Chinese heavy-duty diesel production as well as year-on-year growth in global light-duty ICE production. In addition, Automotive Catalysts made further strong progress on efficiency improvements. The Business Group generated substantial free cash flow. The adjusted EBITDA margin for the Business Group amounted to 24.2%.

Energy & Surface Technologies

Revenues for Energy & Surface Technologies1 were below the level of 2022. The decrease mainly results from lower revenues for Rechargeable Battery Materials. These reflect the combined impact of a lower non-recurring lithium effect and lower volumes for cathode active materials from legacy contracts. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to € 259 million, with a slight increase in earnings for Rechargeable Battery Materials supported by a substantial one-off related to lower costs from mass production test runs and valuation of battery production scraps. Cobalt & Specialty Materials reported, as expected, a substantial decline in earnings. This combined with solid performance of the business units Electro-Optic Materials and Metal Deposition Solutions resulted in an EBITDA margin of 24.6% for the Business Group.


The Recycling1 performance in 2023 was resilient. Although it was below the exceptional performance of 2022, it was well above pre-2020 levels, the year in which the rhodium price started to peak. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to € 372 million, down 30%, reflecting a context of substantially declining PGM prices over 2023, as well as the impact of cost inflation mainly in the first half of the year. These headwinds were partially mitigated by the strong performance of the Precious Metals Management business unit, strategic metal hedges, as well as the introduction of an efficiency program which going forward will result in increased cost efficiencies to counteract the decreased PGM price environment. In a challenging market environment, the Recycling segment delivered an overall robust performance, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 36.7%.

Key figures

Revenues* of € 3.9 billion (-7% vs. 2022)

Adjusted EBITDA of € 972 million (-16% vs. 2022) and adjusted EBITDA margin of 25.0%  (27.3% in 2022)

Adjusted EBIT of € 674 million (-22% vs. 2022)

ROCE of 13.5%
(19.2% in 2022)

Adjusted net profit (Group share) of € 447 million
and adjusted EPS of € 1.86

Cashflow from operations of € 1,217 million
(€ 835 million in 2022); free operating cash flow of € 332 million (€ 344 million in 2022)

Capital expenditures of € 857 million
(€ 470 million in 2022)

Net debt at € 1,266 million, compared to € 1,104 million at the end of 2022. This corresponds to a net debt/ LTM adj. EBITDA ratio of 1.30

Proposed gross annual dividend for 2023 of € 0.80 of which € 0.55 to be paid in May 2024, with an interim dividend of € 0.25 already paid out in August 2023

Umicore’s Group revenues for the full year 2023 amounted to €3.9 billion versus € 4.2 billion in 2022. The adjusted EBIT for the Group stood at € 674 million and the adjusted EBITDA at € 972 million, both below the levels of 2022, including a more than € 200 million PGM price and inflation headwind2. Umicore maintained a strong adjusted EBITDA margin of 25% in 2023, which is well in line with its 2030 RISE target of above 20%. 

Capital expenditures amounted to € 857 million, up 82% year-on-year, mainly driven by investments to execute the contracts secured in the order book for Rechargeable Battery Materials. Operational free cash flow remained strong at € 332 million, despite the significantly increased capital expenditures, enabled through a Group-wide working capital improvement focus. Net financial debt slightly increased to € 1.3 billion resulting in a leverage ratio of 1.30x LTM adjusted EBITDA.

A gross annual dividend of € 0.80 per share, of which € 0.25 was already paid out in August 2023, will be proposed at the Annual General Meeting in April.

“Umicore’s 2023 results demonstrate our ability to deliver strong cash flows and margins, despite challenging market conditions and a step up in investments as we continue to prepare our growth trajectory. We made strong progress on cost savings in operations and are further accelerating this into 2024. In addition, we reached significant strategic milestones across our activities. In Battery Materials we have secured a sizeable and diversified orderbook, safeguarded by very strong contractual terms. We also have been able to secure substantial government grants for our expansions in Europe and North America amounting to close to € 1 billion. With these grants, and an optimized capacity ramp up phasing, we have been able to decrease our anticipated net capital expenditures needed to execute our orderbook.

As we move into 2024, our teams are now focusing on execution excellence, remaining firmly committed to delivering on our targets. I would like to thank our employees, customers, partners and shareholders for their trust and support.”

Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore

Financial discipline, accelerating efficiencies and additional strategic metal hedging

Umicore is making strong progress on its 2030 RISE strategic trajectory with significant milestones achieved over the past 18 months. The current macroeconomic environment has changed significantly from when Umicore launched its strategy in June 2022, in particular with faster and more steeply declining precious metal prices.

In that context, Umicore announced in 2023 that the net total capital expenditures3 for the Group between 2022 and 2026 are expected to amount to € 3.8 billion. This reduction of funding needs compared to the earlier assumptions made when launching the 2030 RISE strategy, results from securing higher-than-anticipated government grants and subsidies, and the partial funding of joint venture capital expenditures by non-recourse debt. It also results from a disciplined capacity phasing strictly in line with customer contracts and orders, an improved utilization of existing capacities in APAC and an optimized, asset-light upstream model, leaving room for highly selective additional customer programs.

In addition, Umicore has launched the ‘Efficiency for Growth’ program over the summer 2023, a company-wide program that accelerates ongoing efficiency improvements across the different business groups to support both cost optimization, top-line growth and working capital improvement in the context of the 2030 RISE execution.

Umicore expects Efficiency for Growth to deliver at least € 70 million EBITDA in 2024  (included in the outlook provided below) and as from 2025 a run-rate exceeding € 100 million EBITDA.

Finally - and in the framework of its strategic metal hedging approach - Umicore has entered, over the course of 2023, into forward contracts covering for a longer period and a significantly larger portion of its structural price exposure compared to the past approach4 with the aim to reduce volatility, protect future earnings linked to its exposure to certain precious metal prices and to increase visibility on future cash flows.

Wannes Peferoen, Umicore’s CFO commented: “Our unwavering focus on financial discipline, the further acceleration of our efficiency efforts, combined with a hedging policy that is more adapted to the current market context will provide us with the best foundation to execute our strategy. We are confident that our teams’ proactive and efficiency-driven mindset will enable us to achieve our company-wide target, thereby making a significant contribution to the 2030 RISE ambitions.”

2024 Outlook

Since the introduction of the 2030 RISE Strategy in June 2022, Umicore has adapted its organizational structure by aligning it with its ambitious growth plan towards 2030. As announced previously, a new organization has been put in place to support the anticipated growth in Rechargeable Battery Materials. Umicore’s business units are from this year onwards housed in four, instead of previously three, Business Groups. The new segmentation still reflects the important synergies and common characteristics, while at the same time bringing increased focus on the different business activities: Battery Materials, Catalysis, Recycling and Specialty Materials.

External reporting according to this new organizational structure will be implemented as from the half-year results 2024 to be published on Friday July 26th. The outlook below, for the year 2024, is therefore already presented according to this new set-up. There is no change in the perimeters of Catalysis and Recycling.


Based on the current market visibility and all else equal, Umicore expects revenue5 growth in Battery Materials with revenues in the range of € 575 million to € 675 million and an adjusted EBITDA margin around 22%. The ramp-up of new customer contracts in Europe and an improved capacity utilization in Asia will result in a significant year-on-year increase in volumes and revenues from cathode active materials (CAM), while the contribution from the upstream refining activities are expected to remain roughly in line with 2023.
Given the absence of the one-off that supported 2023 earnings as well as the impact of costs related to the ongoing ramp-up and capacity expansions in Europe and North America, earnings for the full year are expected to remain roughly in line with the previous year. Excluding this one-off effect, the underlying performance in Battery Materials is expected to increase significantly year on year. Revenues and earnings are expected to be weighted in the second half of 2024, reflecting mainly the ramp-up profile of the new customer contracts.

In 2024, the business unit Automotive Catalysts is expected to continue to benefit from its strong market position. Growth in heavy-duty diesel volumes in China is expected to offset lower volumes in ICE light-duty vehicle applications resulting in continued strong underlying performance. Adjusted EBITDA in Catalysis is anticipated to be slightly below the level of the previous record year, close to current market expectations6, in a context of a lower PGM price environment and taking into account the current strategic metal hedges.

Precious Metals Refining is expected to post solid underlying performance particularly in the second half of the year, with a maintenance shutdown of the smelter anticipated to impact volumes in the first half. Earnings of the Recycling Business Group will feel the effect of a less favorable precious metal price environment. Assuming current metal prices were to prevail throughout the year and taking into account the current strategic metal hedges, it is expected that the 2024 adjusted EBITDA for the Business Group will be below the level of the previous year, still well above the pre-2020 levels and in line with current market expectations6.

In Specialty Materials, Umicore anticipates continued strong performance in Electro-Optic Materials, partially offsetting less favorable market conditions impacting the performance of the business units Cobalt and Specialty Materials and Metal Deposition Solutions. It is expected that the 2024 adjusted EBITDA for the Business Group will be somewhat below the level of the previous year. 

It is anticipated that Corporate costs will be € 15 to € 20 million lower in 2024 versus 2023. 

Based on the above, Umicore expects Groups’ adjusted EBITDA for the full year 2024 to be in the range of € 900 million to € 950 million.

1 Further details of the individual performance of the Business Groups and Business Units during the year can be found in the Catalysis, Energy & Surface Technologies and Recycling sections of this press release.

2 Of which the cost inflation headwind amounted to € 50 million over 2023.

3 Net capital expenditures = capex – government grants and subsidies + equity contribution (e.g. Ionway).

4 More information can be found in the Financial Review – Hedging section of this press release.

5 All revenue elements less the value of the following purchased metals: Co, Ni, Li and Mn.

6 VARA consensus as at February 15th 2024.

* All references to revenues refer to revenues excluding metals (i.e. all revenue elements less the value of the following purchased metals: Au, Ag, Pt, Pd, Rh, Co, Ni, Pb, Cu, Ge, Li and Mn).