GTAT bounces back with large polysilicon orders

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Yesterday U.S. polysilicon, solar and sapphire equipment maker GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) announced that it had received several new orders for polysilicon production equipment since exiting bankruptcy in March.

The company reports a particularly large order for its hydrochlorination Fluid Bed Reactor for the production of trichlorosilane gas, the feed gas for the production of polysilicon. According to GTAT, this reactor would support the production of more than 12,000 metric tons of polysilicon annually.

Additionally, GTAT reports upgrades to existing hydrochlorination Fluid Bed Reactors and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) reactors for polysilicon production. GT says that all these orders are from “customers in Asia”, which probably means China or South Korea.

Since the majority of the world’s wafer production is in China, China is the end-market for most polysilicon. Through import duties the Chinese government has effectively shut out most foreign polysilicon with the exception of Wacker Chemie and South Korean companies.

Electricity use is a main component of polysilicon costs, and GTAT says that its latest generation CVD upgrade can reduce power consumption by up to 25%. The company further states that these improvements and its other technology enable the production of polysilicon at under US$10 per kilogram.

Following the exit from bankruptcy GTAT is traded as a “pink sheet” stock, and as such the company does not have the same financial reporting requirements as it previously did when its stock was traded on the NASDAQ.

As such, there is no recent public financial information available on the company’s activities, and the last monthly report issued showed US$17 million in January 2016 revenue, a strong operating margin and $45 million in cash.

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