Wacker CEO hits out at Chinese rivals

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With Covid-19 battering figures across the board at German chemicals business Wacker Chemie, CEO Rudolf Staudigl took aim squarely at the company’s competitors in the solar polysilicon industry when discussing the tumbling poly price which is compounding the effects of the coronavirus on demand.

At the second-quarter earnings update issued by the Munich-based conglomerate last week, Staudigl said: “Structural overcapacity for solar-grade polysilicon persists among Chinese competitors.”

Lower prices and “a marked volume decline” in polysilicon sales during the second quarter resulted in the Wacker Polysilicon division posting sales of €153 million, down 17% on the €184 million recorded in the first three months of the year and 10% on the €170 million of sales in the corresponding period of last year.

Loss

That added up to an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) hit of €35 million for the wider business, following a €13.7 million reverse in the first quarter and a €5.7 million EBITDA lift, a year earlier.

The solar polysilicon travails contributed to an overall-group, second-quarter sales figure of €1.07 billion which was 16% down, year-on-year, for a cliff-edge-fall in net income of 88%, by the same comparison, from €37 million to just €4.5 million.

Wacker has refused to issue full-year guidance in the face of the continuing Covid-19 uncertainty but has warned shareholders it expects year-on-year performance to be down for sales, EBITDA and EBITDA margin.

Covid-19

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