Ferro Corporation noted that weak demand for conductive pastes used in solar cell production was partially responsible for lower second quarter sales. The materials specialist said that sales declined by US$90 million within its Electronic Materials segment which includes its sales to the solar industry. Ferro also noted a US$63 million decline in sales of precious metals due to lower silver prices and overall demand. The company reported second quarter net sales of US$482 million.
Ferro said that it expected 2012 sales, excluding precious metal pass-throughs, to be down 3% to 7% compared with 2011. Precious metals sales are expected to decline due to lower average prices and lower volume, while solar pastes and metal powder sales are expected to be modestly higher in the second-half of the year.
However, management cautioned that due to limited visibility it couldn’t be sure of when a recovery in demand for solar pastes would return. The company had introduced over 20 new paste-based products for the solar sector in the last 12-months but was also unsure at the pace of customer adoption.