Major polycilicon producer, Wacker Chemie saw an abrupt demand decline in the fourth quarter of 2011 as PV customers reduced inventory levels and cancelled contracts due to some customers exiting the industry. Polysilicon spot prices fell below Wacker’s long-term pricing levels for the first time in many years, sparking price renegotiations.
The polysilicon division reported total sales of some €255 million in the fourth quarter, down 32% compared to prior year period. EBITDA fell approximately 22% to about €165 million, compared to €211 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. However, EBITDA margin increased to 64.7% in Q4, compared to 56.6% in the prior year period.
Wacker had posted polysilicon sales of €378.2 million in the third quarter of 2011. The third-quarter EBITDA margin had been 47.4%, down from 54.3% in the same quarter of 2010. Overall, polysilicon revenue has declined sequentially each quarter in 2011.
“Our business developed well over the first nine months,” said CEO Rudolf Staudigl. “The decline in semiconductor and solar demand was stronger than we had expected and caused Q4 figures to come in below our estimate. Overall, we slightly increased our full-year sales with an operating result near the high prior-year level.”
Wacker noted that it had benefited form advance payments and indemnity payments totalling €65 million due to the termination of supply contracts with customers exiting the solar business, though the company did not identify those customers.