Belgium's Umicore on Thursday said it expects its operating profit to decline in 2023, hit by rising costs and volatile precious metals prices.

Its shares were down roughly 3% in morning trade.

Precious metals like rhodium and palladium, which Umicore extracts from spent electronics, hit sky-high prices over the past few years, boosting the firm's earnings. Prices have since dropped off.

The company posted an adjusted operating profit (EBIT) of 865 million euros for 2022, against 971 million in 2021.

"I remain very confident that we are best positioned to capture the significant growth opportunities provided by the accelerating mobility transformation," Chief Executive Mathias Miedreich said.

Umicore is betting on supplying carmakers with battery materials for electric vehicles to help make up for an expected decline in its lucrative businesses supplying catalytic converters that help control emissions from cars that run on gasoline or diesel.

Its Catalysis arm, which makes chemical catalysts to control exhaust emissions, nonetheless performed well, with revenues and earnings reaching record levels despite a "subdued" global car market, partly due to its market share gains in gasoline catalyst technologies in China, Umicore said.

Revenues in its Energy & Surface Technologies segment, which makes cathode materials used in lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, grew 28% to 1.28 billion euros.

Revenues for 2021 and 2022 have been restated to exclude the pass-through value of the purchased lithium and manganese, it said. (Reporting by Olivier Sorgho; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Sonali Paul)