Europe’s biggest copper producer has warned it may face hundreds of millions of euros in losses after being hit by a massive theft.
Shares in Hamburg-based Aurubis dropped as much as 18pc after the company said it had found significant discrepancies in stockpiles and shipments of scrap metal linked to its recycling business.
Bosses believe some of its suppliers have manipulated details about the scrap metal they provided and have been working with employees in the company’s sampling department to cover it up.
That’s unlikely to be a massive theft. Far more reasonable for it to be a series of minor thefts. Which then turn up once you do a proper stocktake and audit. It’s damn difficult to lie about the arrival of a train of scrap, or the content of that train full of scrap. Trivially easy, with inside help, to get paid out on 2 and 5% variations in your favour of weights and purities. Nudging up the tin content by 2 or 5% on a 5 tonne load, that sort of thing. Over time and a group of suppliers that would indeed add up.
Sure, obviously, I could be wrong. But that’s the way I’d bet. Long standing and individually small scale fiddle, they’ve just found out the cumulative effect of it.