February 16 (SeeNews) - German copper producer Aurubis said on Thursday its supervisory board approved the allocation of 120 million euro ($128.3 million) for expanding the copper cathode tankhouse at its Pirdop site in Bulgaria - the company's largest individual investment at the site since acquiring it in 2008.
The facility's output will rise by around 50% to 340,000 tonnes per year after the expansion, which will be financed out of current cash flow without the need for capital increases, Aurubis said in a press release.
The plant upgrade is estimated to add 30 million euro to the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) once it is commissioned in the second half of 2026. Aurubis reported a 27% jump in EBITDA to 753 million euro in its fiscal year 2021/2022 ended September 30.
"The expansion of the refinery by Pirdop and Zlatitsa will allow all copper anodes produced in Bulgaria to be processed on site. This optimises flows while at the same time significantly reducing the logistics costs and the associated carbon footprint," Aurubis chief operations officer Heiko Arnold said.
He added that the Bulgarian plant expansion prepares the ground for further strategic projects at the German group's other plants. Since 2013, Aurubis has managed to cut its copper cathode carbon footprint by over 35% to half the global industry average, its latest annual report shows.
Last week, Aurubis said that its Bulgarian copper cathode output grew by a yearly 7% to 58,000 t in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022/2023.
By growing its copper cathode output in Bulgaria, Aurubis is responding to growing market needs in the context of the energy transition, e-mobility and digitalisation, all of which are driving demand for the raw material. Copper cathode is the standard traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and is a starting material for all further copper applications.
Aurubis has earmarked a total of 1.1 billion euro in strategic projects that will boost its core business activities. In December, the German group announced a 530 million euro investment package to double the processing capacity of its recycling plant in Georgia, USA, to grow recycling capabilities at its plant in Hamburg, Germany plant, and to expand to 24 MW its in-house solar plant in Bulgaria.
($ = 0.9350 euro)
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