Wacker polysilicon sales bounce back but plant utilisation rates down to 85% in 2020

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Wacker’s polysilicon sales recovered in the second half of 2020 enabling flat year-on-year results. Image: Wacker Chemie

Polysilicon provider Wacker witnessed a sales recovery in the second half of 2020, but ongoing cost reductions coupled with weak first half demand led to polysilicon plant utilisation rates averaging 85%.

Wacker’s polysilicon sales hit a significant low point of €152.5 million in the second quarter of 2020, the company’s lowest quarterly figures in over 10 years.

But Wacker responded strongly in the second half. of the year. Polysilicon sales in the fourth quarter reached €244 million, its highest quarterly levels since the fourth quarter of 2017, as the year with broadly flat year-on-year results.

Wacker’s polysilicon sales hit a significant low point of €152.5 million in the second quarter of 2020. The lowest quarterly figures in over 10-years.

Full-year 2020 polysilicon sales were €792.2 million, a 1.6% increase over the prior year.

The ongoing ‘Wacker Operating System’ (WOS) program to reduce operating costs each year meant the number of polysilicon employees declined to 2,180, down from 2,333 at the end of 2019.

As a result of the workforce reductions and higher automation and optimisation of polysilicon plants, Wacker said that its EBITDA improved by roughly €60 million in 2020. Total earnings came in slightly positive at €4.7 million compared to €56.9 million in 2019, the 2019 figure having been adjusted to reflect special income of €112.5 million in compensation for the Charleston plant explosion. EBITDA margin was 0.6% in 2020, compared to 7.3% in the previous year.

Wacker had group wide plans to save €250 million per year by the end of 2022 with non-personnel costs reductions around 50% of that total, with a total workforce reduction from global operations of around 1,200. The majority, around 1,000, of the job losses would be made in Germany.

Wacker had also focused on reducing polysilicon plant energy consumption at its German plants, notably from a new gas fired turbine resulting in a CO2 production footprint claimed to be four-times lower compared to Chinese competitors.

As part of the cost reductions, polysilicon capital expenditures were lowered to €24.9 million, compared to €35.3 million in the previous year. No plans were mentioned regarding expanding polysilicon production in 2021.

R&D expenditure was also reduced to €21.3 million in 2020, down from €30 million in 2019.


Wacker said that it expected a mid-single-digit percentage increase in polysilicon sales in 2021, noting an improved product mix, and a slight increase in sales volumes.

A key point highlighted was polysilicon ASPs, which management said were not expected to decline in 2021 due to tight supply and increasing demand.

Wacker noted that growth in quantities and prices in recent weeks could lead to an increase in sales in the low double-digit percentage range. The EBITDA margin for 2021 is expected to increase significantly, without providing further insight.

Read Next

September 27, 2021
Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member JinkoSolar is investing US$500 million to set up a monocrystalline ingot and wafer manufacturing facility in Vietnam that will supply its cell and module plants in the US and Malaysia.
September 20, 2021
The US solar policy landscape is shifting at breakneck speed, with new incentives and trade tariffs promising to alter the shape of the industry for the coming decade. Luckily Andy Colthorpe and Liam Stoker are here to decipher the changes in the September 2021 episode of the Solar Media Podcast.
September 16, 2021
As much as 191GW of new solar PV is expected to be installed this year – up by a third on last year’s deployment figure – despite polysilicon and module prices remaining high into 2022, BloombergNEF has said.
September 15, 2021
Leading ‘Solar Module Super League’ manufacturer JinkoSolar has said it is addressing the reliability of shipments to the US market, while also upgrading its module capacity forecast for this year and teasing an expansion of n-type cell capacity.
PV Tech Premium
September 13, 2021
Following the release of the US Department’s Solar Futures Study, Liam Stoker assesses the downstream and upstream trends that must be realised for US solar to fulfil its potential.
September 9, 2021
Three of the solar industry’s leading manufacturers have launched a standardisation drive aimed at creating a standard for module sizing and mounting hole spacing.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021