Revenues were well up (+11%) compared to 2014 with strong growth in Catalysis and Energy & Surface Technologies more than offsetting the impact of lower metal prices on the recycling activities. The revenue growth, which was in part driven by the ramp-up of recent growth investments, was the main factor behind the 21% growth in recurring EBIT. Return on capital employed in 2015 reached 13.7% compared to 12.2% the previous year.
Capital expenditures amounted to € 240 million and the various growth investments throughout Umicore made excellent progress. The most sizeable of these investments – the program to increase capacity of the Hoboken plant by 40% - saw the successful completion of the most significant investment wave in 2015. A number of capacity expansion and technology-related investments in Automotive Catalysts and Rechargeable Battery Materials were either completed or moved closer to finalization during 2015.
Cash flow generation remained strong in 2015. The Board of Directors proposed a 20% increase in the gross annual dividend – from €1.00 a share to € 1.20.