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Kokkola

Umicore to consolidate in cobalt/nickel chemicals

Umicore has announced plans to streamline its cobalt activities in the Cobalt & Specialty Materials business unit in order to strengthen its competitive position. This will lead to about €55 million in charges.

The unit, which makes cobalt and nickel speciality chemicals for a wide-range of non-battery applications, has been facing increasing competition in many markets and in cobalt refining in recent years.

As a result, the company will close cobalt refining and some the cobalt transformation activities at Olen, Belgium, and move them to the recently acquired and much larger Kokkola refinery in Finland (pictured), where these activities can operate at a larger, more competitive scale. This should be completed by mid-2023, with the loss of 165 jobs.

Meanwhile, the plant at Arab, Alabama, will close with the loss of 42 jobs. North American activities will be consolidated at Nashville, Tennessee. The business unit also closed its cobalt, nickel and rhenium refining and recycling plant in Wickliffe, Ohio, earlier this year.

Separately, on behalf of its Umicore Precious Metals Chemistry subsidiary, Umicore has reached a final settlement with Apeiron Synthesis and two of its affiliates in the US District Court for the District of Delaware over alleged infringement of its metathesis catalysts patents. As part of the settlement, Umicore has granted Apeiron a licence to these patents in exchange for royalties and other compensation.

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