Wacker profit up on polysilicon price

Wacker Chemie posted a jump in its polysilicon business as volumes and product prices went up in the first quarter amid prospects for strong growth in newly installed PV systems around the world.

The division increased sales by 11% to €262m ($363.5m) compared to the year-earlier period, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and appreciation (Ebitda) more than tripled to €180m due to special income from retained advance payments and damages received.

Without the special income, Ebitda at the Munich-based company would still have gone up by 25%.

The rise in profit from its polysilicon business came amid an 8% jump in overall sales to €1.16bn, and a 73% rise in overall Ebitda to €285.2m.

“Wacker had a good start to the new fiscal year in Q1 2014,” said chief executive Rudolf Staudigl.

“Customer demand for our products rose noticeably throughout all divisions in the first quarter. At the same time, price pressures have eased in a number of segments. Especially for solar silicon, we are seeing better prices than a year ago.”

Wacker expects polysilicon sales to rise in 2014 as the PV market is expected to continue its growth trajectory, amid a slight recovery in polysilicon prices.

The company also showed itself relieved that a negotiated solution was found last year regarding exports to China.

“In the agreement, Wacker undertakes not to sell solar silicon produced at its European plants to China below a specific minimum price,” the company says.

“China, in turn, will refrain from imposing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on polysilicon from Wacker. The agreement has provided the Munich-based chemical company and its Chinese customers with legal and planning certainty.”