Business approach and strategy
Umicore’s business approach
Focus on applications
Umicore focuses on providing products (materials, compounds and catalysts) and services based on precious and specialty metals. The development of new products and new services is dictated by the requirements of Umicore’s customers and its customers’ customers. Through our focus on applications and the offer of flexible solutions, we strive for market leadership in all selected areas where we are present.
Umicore is active over a large segment of the value chain, looking for ways to add value beyond the production of refined metals. We seek to develop and produce products and services that have a specific added value for our customers. This frequently involves close joint development efforts.
Closing the loop
Recycling is a core part of our business. The ability to close the materials loop represents a vital service to many customers and offers us a key competitive advantage. Closing the loop also offers direct economic and environmental benefits and is a key element in the long-term success of the business.
Excellence in innovation, technology and operations
In the fast-moving arena of materials technology the importance of innovation is paramount. We invest in and encourage product and process innovation throughout the business. Continuous improvement of both the cost base and product quality in our operations also remains vital in order to prosper as a materials business.
Being the best employer and neighbour
As a dynamic, responsible and technology-oriented business our success depends on being able to attract and retain the right people. Our licence to operate is also derived from transparent communication with our stakeholders especially people living close to our operations. We aim to be the best possible employer and neighbour.
We carefully manage our environmental footprint. This involves seeking constant improvement in our environmental performance as well as addressing any historical issues connected with our past operations.
Umicore seeks to generate economic value through its existing businesses and any acquisitions or organic growth initiatives that it undertakes. This entails generating a return on capital employed (recurring pre-tax operating profit / average capital employed for the period) in excess of our overall Group pre-tax cost of capital. This cost of capital can vary over time in function of our risk profile and the state of the world’s debt and equity markets. Umicore aims to create value for shareholders in the medium term. This is achieved in the first instance through achieving solid operational performance. We seek to grow our existing businesses and also to enter markets which have attractive growth potential and to develop leadership positions within these markets. From a financial perspective we aim to safeguard our business through sound financial management and by maintaining a strong balance sheet. We have no fixed target regarding debt levels but we aim to maintain an investment grade status at all times.
For more information on Umicore’s management approach please see:
- Umicore’s approach to economic / financial performance and the distribution of economic benefits
- Umicore’s approach to environmental performance
- Umicore’s approach to social performance
Strategic focus 2011-2015
Umicore has developed a strategic vision for the period 2011-2015. This vision links our growth focus to those areas where we feel we can make to most significant difference in addressing the global megatrends of materials scarcity, more stringent emission control, electrification of the automobile and the need for clean energy. In the coming years the most significant growth investments and research efforts will be dedicated to these areas and will include such product and services as new recycling technologies, materials for rechargeable batteries, materials for photovoltaic applications, new generations of automotive catalysts and fuel cell research. To reflect the direction of the company our business configuration was adapted in 2010 to reflect the different growth drivers. The segments are: Catalysis, Energy Materials, Performance Materials and Recycling .