August 9, 2018 / 7:48 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Aurubis quarterly profit falls but more optimistic for year

* Q3 EBT down 16 pct at 78 mln euros vs forecast 84.1 mln

* Sales up 8 percent at 2.97 bln euros vs f’cast 2.92 bln

* Sees growth of 5.1-15 pct in operating EBT this year

* Shares down more than 5 pct in early trade (Recasts with earnings outlook for full year, adds shares, comment)

By Michael Hogan

HAMBURG, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Aurubis AG, Europe’s biggest copper smelter, posted a fall in quarterly profit after repairs at one of its plants but gave a more optimistic indication of earnings in its full year.

Chief Executive Juergen Schachler said the group expected growth in operating earnings before tax (EBT) for its current fiscal year to be at the upper end of its forecast of between 5.1 and 15 percent, seeing benefits from efficiency programmes and a positive trading environment.

Its shares fell more than 5 percent in early trade, on track for their biggest one-day drop in six months.

Aurubis said it expects positive conditions to continue in copper markets in coming months and anticipated strong demand for copper products. “This will be a very good year for Aurubis,” a spokeswoman said.

Aurubis said its operating earnings before taxes (EBT) fell 16 percent to 78 million euros ($91 million) in its fiscal third quarter to end-June, below a consensus for 84.1 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Quarterly sales rose 8 percent to 2.97 billion euros, compared with consensus for 2.92 billion.

Third-quarter results were hit by a “relatively small” repair shutdown which cut concentrate (ore) processing at its main Hamburg smelter, the spokeswoman said.

Group copper concentrate processing in the third quarter fell to 618,000 tonnes from 641,000 tonnes in the same year-ago period.

“Significant influencing factors for the strong operating result during the reporting period were the good ongoing performance of the Hamburg and Pirdop sites, as well as positive effects from the efficiency improvement programme,” it said.

“In the next few months, we expect good sales volumes for rod and stable demand for shapes,” it said. “We expect demand for flat rolled products to continue at a strong level, especially for higher-end products like high-performance alloys and tin-coated strip.”

Through the rest of the year it expects “satisfactory” copper concentrate treatment charges (TC/RCs), paid by miners to smelters to refine concentrate into metal and which are a key part of the global copper industry’s earnings.

“With good ongoing output levels at mines, we will continue to be able to procure a sufficient supply of copper concentrates,” it said.

It expects the volume of copper concentrates processed during the current fiscal year to be “higher than in the previous year”, with high plant availability and higher metal output compared with the previous year. ($1 = 0.8618 euros) (Reporting by Michael Hogan Editing by David Evans and Dale Hudson)

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