German company Aurubis AG, Europe's largest copper supplier, has suffered a massive metal theft, significantly affecting its profits, as it expects to miss this years' forecasts of between €450 and €550 million.
On Friday 31 August, they issued a statement saying that they had detected significant deviations in their inventory of materials. Following this statement, the impact on the stock market was immediate, with Aurubis shares plummeting by up to 17% on the Frankfurt stock exchange.
Aurubis detected discrepancies in its routine checks between in-stock and transported quantities of metals associated with its recycling division. The company has also announced that it will carry out an extraordinary inventory of all stocks, which it expects to complete by the end of September.
They have also indicated that they cannot yet determine the exact extent of the damage, but they assure that the facts, which have already been brought to the attention of the police, will affect the results for the period 2022/2023.
Steelmaker Salzgitter AG will also be negatively impacted by the theft, as it owns 30% of the company.
However, although the crisis erupted on Friday, the problem has existed for months. As early as June, Aurubis revealed that an investigation was underway that pointed to employees, former employees and subcontractors as possible suspects in a network that was believed to be involved in the theft of this type of metal.
Fraud in the metals market
This year could be described as the year of fraud in the metals market. We have already seen the collapse following the Trafigura fraud, which lost $600 million when it bought a shipment of nickel in which there was no trace of the metal. Then the London Metal Exchange was also defrauded over an alleged 54 tonnes of nickel that had been replaced by stones.
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