Wacker reports slight revenue growth for polysilicon business


From pv magazine Germany

German chemical group and polysilicon manufacturer Wacker Chemie has reported 2% revenue growth for its polysilicon business in 2020.

The company posted overall revenue growth of 5%, to €4.69 billion last year. In the second quarter, sales fell significantly due to the Covid-19 crisis. In the third and fourth quarters this was partially offset, thanks, in particular, to good demand for polysilicon and from the construction industry. In addition to the overall lower prices and sales volumes, year-on-year, product-mix effects and currency changes also slowed sales development, the company said.

EBITDA reached €666.3 million in the last financial year–a decrease of 15% compared to 2019. The company was also able to swing from an EBIT loss of €536.3 million in 2019 to a profit of €262.8 million last year. Depreciation of €760 million, associated with its polysilicon business, was included in the financial results for 2019. In 2020, depreciation totaled just over €400 million.

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According to the balance sheet, sales in the Wacker polysilicon division increased by 2%, to €792.2 million last year. The main reasons for this were higher sales volumes and a better product mix. Segment EBITDA was 92% higher than in 2019, at €4.7 million. However, adjusted for insurance benefits–which were incurred as special income in 2019–it rose by as much as €60.3 million. This was mainly due to further improvements in manufacturing costs.

“In the polysilicon business, we are also assuming slightly higher sales volumes and a better product mix,” said Wacker Chemie CEO Rudolf Staudigl. “The annual average prices for polysilicon are unlikely to decrease compared to 2020.” In view of the strong growth in volumes and prices in the photovoltaic sector in recent weeks, the increase in sales could also be in the low double-digit percentage range, according to Staudigl. EBITDA will be significantly higher than the previous year.

Looking forward, Wacker Chemie said its EBITDA will grow by between 10 and 20% this year, as a result of savings in material and personnel costs. For the first quarter at least, Wacker Chemie is already recording dynamic demand growth in all business areas.

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