By Michael Hogan
HAMBURG, March 2 (Reuters) - Aurubis AG, Europe's biggest copper smelter, plans to expand into production of other non-ferrous metals, new CEO Juergen Schachler said on Thursday.
He did not name specific metals, but told the group's annual shareholders' meeting that Aurubis should become a "multi metals producer."
He also said the group's new corporate strategy, dubbed Vision 2025, could involve buying suitable non-ferrous metal production companies. But the strategy will not include an expansion into mining, said Schachler, who took over in July 2016.
Aurubis' last acquisition was in 2011 when it took over the rolled copper operations of the Luvata group.
Aurubis should concentrate on its core expertise of metal production, metal recycling and metal product production, Schachler said in a speech to shareholders.
The group is already involved in gold, silver, nickel and selenium production and these sectors could also be built up, said Schachler. Traces of such metals are contained in copper concentrates (ore) and scrap.
"We can and will expand this in the framework of our metallurgy expertise," Schachler told shareholders. "We will take a more consistent route away from copper towards becoming a multi metals producer and we will establish ourselves a wider basis."
He said the group would seek both "internal and external growth," which "can include the expansion of existing capacity or also acquisitions, when these in terms of content and geography make sense and fit."
But it made "no sense" to become a mining company, he said. "This is not part of our metallurgical expertise and we will not do this," he said.
The group would concentrate on metal smelting and product output. He gave no indication of which geographical areas could be assessed for expansion.
Alongside major copper smelters in Hamburg and Luenen in Germany, Aurubis also has copper and copper product activities including in Bulgaria, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, and the United States. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Victoria Bryan/Ruth Pitchford)