Polysilicon supply remains tight, according to MEMC management, though they didn’t know whether the situation would last. However, in a conference call to discuss financial results management mentioned that they would soon announce significant capacity additions where the demand is centred, suggesting expansions at it Malaysian plant or new facilities in Asia.
“You'll see us announcing some things in the foreseeable future on significant capacity additions, but continue to be very disciplined on cash management,” noted Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Chatila in the conference call.
Significant polysilicon and wafer capacity expansions have been announced by the likes of GLC-Poly, LDK Solar and others, while MEMC, once of the largest wafer producers has remained on the sidelines.
MEMC noted in the call that capital expenditures were US$115.1 million in the quarter, driven by investments in 300mm wafer production for the semiconductor industry and its continued expansion of in-house solar wafering manufacturing as well as projects for productivity improvement.
Solar materials net sales for the fourth quarter were reported as US$279.9 million, an increase of 27% from the third quarter of 2010 and an increase of 93% from the fourth quarter of 2009.
Overall net sales for the quarter were US$850.1 million, an increase of 69% from US$503.1 million in the third quarter of 2010.
Solar materials segment operating profit was US$38.1 million in the fourth quarter, compared to US$17.6 million in the third quarter.
Management noted that although polysilicon was in tight supply at the moment it expected wafer prices to decline 15-20% this year.