April 25, 2017 / 6:46 AM / 4 months ago

Umicore sees 2017 operating profit growth of up to 20 pct

BRUSSELS, April 25 (Reuters) - Belgium's Umicore said on Tuesday it expected its operating profit to grow by between 11 and 20 percent this year due to strong demand for battery and catalyst material, following a 6 percent rise in 2016.

The group, which recycles and makes materials for the car industry and rechargeable batteries, said it expected its recurring operating profit (EBIT) to be between 355 and 385 million euros ($385.85 - $418.46 million), excluding the operations it had earmarked for sale.

The items for sale have revenue of some 15 million euros.

Umicore said revenue grew by 29 percent in the first quarter in its energy and surface technology unit because of a sharp increase for transportation batteries.

Revenues from its catalysts unit grew by 9 percent, while recycling revenues were up 4 percent.

Overall, revenue from continued operations were up 13 percent in the first three months of the year. ($1 = 0.9200 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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