Wacker in China poly export pact

Germany’s Wacker Chemie said it has reached a deal with the authorities in Beijing over terms that will allow it to export polysilicon to China without the fear of trade tariffs.

Wacker – which separately forecast a sales and profits rise for 2014 – said the agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) includes undertakings not to sell polysilicon produced at its European plants below a minimum price in China.

In return Beijing won’t impose anti-dumping or anti-subsidy tariffs. The agreement comes into force on 1 May this year and lasts until April 2016.

China has held back from imposing duties on imports of EU-produced polysilicon, despite making a preliminary ruling in January this year that dumping had occurred.

China's forbearance apparently tied in with wider moves to resolve the EU-China trade spat over solar equipment coming the other way.

It is now clear that Wacker – one of the world's biggest suppliers and the largest EU-based polysilicon maker – has been engaged in detailed discussions with the Beijing authorities.

The agreement on minimum import prices "based on market prices" closely mirrors the deal reached between Brussels and Chinese PV equipment manufacturers.

The two sides agreed not to release any further details.

However, it was announced last year that US and Korean polysilicon production has been made subject to preliminary tariffs.

Wacker is building a 15,000-tonne polysilicon factory in the US state of Tennessee that would still be subject to duties, as the deal announced today specifically refers to output from European plants.

Wacker separately told shareholders it expects 2014 to bring a 10% increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) and an unspecified boost in net profits.

The Munich-based company says full-year group sales should rise by a “mid single digit percentage”.

CEO Rudolf Staudigl said: “We anticipate that our polysilicon business will increase its sales. This trend will not only be supported by higher volumes, we also see chances for a slight recovery in prices.”