Wacker sees increasing polysilicon demand

Wacker introduced shorter working hours at its Burghausen-based production facility last October on the back of decreasing demand. Around 700 employees were affected by the decision.

The measure was expected to stay in place until this March. However, the company says that due to an unexpected uptick in demand seen in January, full working hours have been reinstated and utilization, which was reduced to two thirds, ramped up.

"Our order intake has increased so much over the last few weeks that plant-utilization levels are currently insufficient to produce the quantities ordered," stated president of Wacker Polysilicon, Ewald Schindlbeck. He added that due to the company’s production flexibility, capacities have, however, been aligned.

Wacker Chemie recently reported that its 2012 earnings were negatively affected by the drop in polysilicon prices seen last year. Preliminary figures show that sales fell from €4.91 billion in 2011 to €4.63 billion. EBIT also significantly dropped to €258 million, down from €693 million in 2011.

Overall, the company attributes its sales decline to lower polysilicon and semiconductor wafer prices, which reduced consolidated sales by €700 million. Earnings, meanwhile, were affected mainly by overcapacity in the photovoltaic industry and falling solar silicon prices.