Increased polysilicon shipments in 2012, partially offset a 50% price decline, resulting in polysilicon-based revenue at Wacker declining nearly 22% last year.
Wacker’s polysilicon division had 2012 revenue of €1.14 billion but EBITDA declined 43% to €428 million.
Dr. Rudolf Staudigl President & CEO of Wacker Chemie AG, reiterated in a conference call to discuss results said, “The days of 50-percent-plus margins in the polysilicon business are over.”
The company produced 38,000MT of polysilicon in 2012, up 20%, compared to 2011.
Dr, Staudigl claimed that polysilicon producers globally ended-up selling on average 6% less than the prior year period, suggesting Wacker had gained market share over its rivals in 2012.
Management were slightly more upbeat about 2013 business prospects, noting that is was selling higher volumes of polysilicon than previously expected, though prices were said to be “stable” yet continue to be a “low level.”
However, the company expects that polysilicon sales could return to levels seen in 2011, which translates into sales of around €1.44 billion in 2013. Management were quick to caution on the forecast due to the impact anti-dumping investigation in the EU would play-out and the Chinese government investigation into overseas polysilicon prices, which could lead to import tariffs.
Polysilicon capacity expansion update
Wacker noted that construction of its new polysilicon plant in the US was ongoing but had slowed down to aligning capacity growth with market demand. Charleston’s production start-up is now planned for mid-2015, according to the company.
However, the extended start-up timetable will allow Wacker to optimise and debottleneck the facility, enabling total capacity to increase by at least 10%, taking nameplate capacity over 20,000MT per annum.
Overall, Wacker’s nameplate polysilicon production will reach 72,000MT by the end of 2015.