FRANKFURT, Feb 14, 2012 (Dow Jones) -- German copper maker and processor Aurubis AG (NDA.XE) Tuesday said lower average copper prices in the fiscal first quarter were more than offset by higher precious metal prices, with gold and silver in demand as investments to hedge risk. While the pace of first quarter growth won't likely be sustained, full-year results are expected to be satisfactory.
-First quarter earnings before interest and tax rose to EUR200 million, versus EUR142 million a year earlier.
-First quarter sales climbed 15% from a year earlier, to EUR3.15 billion, mainly due to the integration of Luvata's rolled products division acquired in September, and higher precious metal prices.
-The copper price trend was volatile, but the effects were not serious, with the average settlement price for the quarter at $7,489 per ton, versus $8,634 in the prior quarter.
-Lower scrap copper prices in the first quarter barely affected the company, since inventories were well stocked.
-Aurubis plans to close a production site in Sweden, and to shift its non-profitable Swiss operations to Belgium.
-Aurubis expects a satisfactory fiscal year with volatile, yet high, copper prices, even if subdued economic expectations are reflected in future results.