UPDATE 1-Umicore H1 core profit jumps 157% as metal prices soar, autos sector recovers

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July 30 (Reuters) - Belgian materials technology and recycling group Umicore reported better-than-expected first-half core profit on Friday, boosted by metal prices and recovery of demand from the automotive industry for its clean mobility materials.

All-electric vehicles accounted for 7.5% of new car sales in Europe in April-June compared to 3.5% a year earlier, data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association showed.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose to 625 million euros ($742 million) from 243 million a year earlier, topping the 524 million expected by analysts in a company-provided poll.

January-June revenue rose 37% to 2.1 billion euros, in line with analysts’ forecasts. The company announced an interim dividend of 0.25 euros per share.

The maker of catalytic converters and battery materials for carmakers raised its outlook, saying it expects adjusted EBIT for this year to slightly exceed 1 billion euros having previously seen it approaching 1 billion.

“We stand ready to capitalise on the acceleration of electrification in the automotive industry and the growing need for a circular economy,” Umicore departing CEO Marc Grynberg said.

Umicore said new CEO Mathias Miedreich will officially take up his new role on October 1.

The company warned, though, that revenue and earnings in its catalysis division in the second half of the year will be impacted by more subdued demand in the automotive industry due to an ongoing shortage in the global supply of semiconductors.

In recycling, it noted its first-half performance included a spike in precious metal prices while in the second half the availability of a smelter in Hoboken will be lower due to a planned maintenance shutdown starting in mid-September.

$1 = 0.8421 euros Reportting by Anna Rzhevkina; editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Jason Neely