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Growing for clean mobility (2018)

Over the current 5-year period Umicore has been driving economic performance by ramping up capacity in a number of selected areas to meet the growing demand in our products and services. 

In the Catalysis business group expansion has focused on catalysts for Heavy Duty Diesel (HDD). Building on our strong experience in HDD technology in Florange (France), Umicore opened a new production facility in Suzhou (China) for catalysts used in HDD in March 2014. A second new catalyst facility was opened in Nowa Ruda (Poland) in June 2016 while a third new plant was opened in Thailand in January 2017. Umicore is thus well placed to serve the strong European, Chinese and South East Asia hubs especially in the continually growing heavy duty diesel markets.  

Meanwhile the integration in 2018 of the former Haldor-Topsoe catalysis business has reinforced positions in Europe and China while improving access to both Americas and opening up the stationery diesel market. Full ownership of the Korean Ordeg business, completed in 2017, also makes Umicore a leading supplier of emission control catalysts to Korean automotive producers.  

Umicore also acquired Materia’s metathesis catalyst business early in 2018 for the Precious Metals Chemistry unit, focusing on high-end pharma and fine chemical applications.  

In the Energy & Surface Technologies business group, investments have focused heavily on the production of cathode materials. In 2016 and 2017 Umicore invested a total of € 460 miIlion to further increase its production of NMC cathode materials for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Investments were made in Jiangmen (China) and Cheonan (South Korea) with production lines commissioned in 2017 and 2018 respectively. These combined investments will result in a six-fold capacity increase by 2020 compared with 2015 levels.  

A further investment of € 660 million announced in February 2018 provides for additional expansion, adding a new greenfield site in Jiangmen by the end of 2019 and supporting Umicore’s European roadmap for cathode materials. A site in Nysa, Poland has been selected for the first production plant to manufacture cathode materials for the European automotive market and is expected to be on stream in late 2020. Umicore’s total capacity should now reach 175 000 metric tonnes by 2021. Umicore has also announced a new process competence center at its site in Olen, Belgium, which is expected to be commissioned in late 2019. 

Elsewhere in the business group, Eurotungstene was acquired early in 2017 to complement the tool activity of the Cobalt and Specialty materials business unit.  

In Recycling, Umicore invested €100 million on expanding production capacity at its main precious metals recycling facility in Hoboken, Belgium. The ramp-up in production increased treatment capacity by 40%, enabling Umicore’s precious metals refining to build on its unique competence in treating the broadest range of complex materials from around the world.  
A new workshop for platinum materials for the Chinese glass industry was opened on Umicore’s Suzhou site in October 2018.   


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