FILE PHOTO: A crane lifts scrap metal at Scholz scrap metal recycling plant in Espenhain
Europe’s top copper producer said it is the victim of a scrap metal scam that might have been facilitated by its employees.Aurubis said it believes some of its suppliers manipulated details about the scrap metal they provided.Aurubis said the associated damages “might be in the low, three-digit-million-euro range.”
Another scam in the metals industry has cost Europe’s top copper producer estimated losses of at least 100 million euros ($108 million).
Hamburg-based Aurubis said on Thursday that it identified serious shortfalls in its inventory of metals from its recycling business. The metals theft is separate from criminal activity the company uncovered in June, in which there was a theft ring targeting its precious metals.
Aurubis believes some of its suppliers falsified details about scrap metal they provided, and that they worked with employees within Aurubis’ sampling department to cover up the discrepancies.
“It cannot currently be ruled out that the damages might be in the low, three-digit-million-euro range,” Aurubis said in a statement.
Due to the theft, Aurubis said it would be unable to achieve its prior guidance of generating 450 million to 550 million euros in operating earnings before taxes this year.
Aurubis stock fell as much as 18% in Frankfurt on Friday, though it pared its losses to about 11%.
The precious metals industry has been rocked by massive thefts over the past year. In February, commodities-trading giant Trafigura said it expected to lose about $600 million after discovering that cargoes of nickel it bought didn’t have any nickel.
Separately, the London Metal Exchange said earlier this year that it discovered bags of nickel within its warehousing network were instead filled with rocks.