Wacker’s polysilicon business sees profit and turnover fall


From pv magazine Germany.

Wacker Chemie AG was able to meet sales expectations in 2018. According to preliminary figures, the German business increased turnover by 1% to €4.98 billion, with its chemical and silicon businesses as main drivers.

“As a result, the company more than compensated for year-over-year euro appreciation and the market-driven decline in polysilicon volumes and prices,” the company stated.

However, the company reported EBITDA earnings fell 8% to €930 million in the last financial year. “The EBITDA trend was dampened not only by the insurance compensation still outstanding for the incident at Charleston and the solar market’s weakness, but also by significantly higher raw material costs,” Wacker said, referring to the hydrogen explosion at the company’s polysilicon fab in Tennessee in September 2017.

EBIT also fell by 8% year-on-year, to €390 million, although a reduction in depreciation worth €540 million had a positive effect, the company said.

Performance of the polysilicon division

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According to the preliminary figures, polysilicon sales revenue fell from €1.12 billion in 2017 to €825 million last year.

“The decline of 27% was prompted by market-driven pressure on volumes and prices, by the production shutdown at Charleston in the first months of last year, and by the gradual ramp-up of production, which was concluded only in early December,” said Wacker CEO Rudolf Staudigl.

The company highlighted recent changes in China’s subsidy policy for PV, stressing it has used the market situation “to increase its stock of inventories in order to be able to supply its customers quickly in the future”.

After the hydrogen explosion, production was temporarily halted and it was only at the beginning of last month that full capacity was restored, Staudigl said, adding: “We continue to expect that insurance compensation will fully cover the repair work at the site and the business interruption loss. We expect this during 2019.”

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