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Umicore to take over cobalt refinery in Finland

Umicore has agreed to acquire Freeport Cobalt’s cobalt refining and cathode precursor activities in Kokkola, Finland.

The US$ 150 million (EUR 134 million) deal is on a debt and cash-free basis, plus the value of the working capital to be taken over at closing, which at the end of March was approximately US$ 40 million. The transaction is due to be finalised by the end of the year.

Umicore describes the acquisition as ‘an important step’ in expanding its battery materials value chain. The state-of-the-art Kokkola facility is the largest cobalt refinery in Europe, the recycler points out.

With R&D, refining, precursor production, cathode materials production and battery recycling operations located in Europe, Umicore says it will be ‘ideally placed’ to serve the European operations of its battery cell and automotive customers.

Marc Grynberg, ceo of Umicore, says that the company’s expansion will help boost recycling rates of battery materials at a time of rapid growth for technology metals. 

However, Umicore is not acquiring the cobalt fine powders, chemicals, catalysts, ceramics & pigments activities located on the same site, which will continue to be run by Freeport Cobalt.

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