Wacker sees another drop in polysilicon sales for Q3 2012

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The Wacker Group released its Q3 2012 financial results, which saw the company’s polysilicon business take another hit. Overall, Wacker saw the third quarter generate an EBITA of €204.3 million, 36% less than Q3 2011 and 15% less than Q2 2012. Its polysilicon division posted sales of €269.1 million, down 29% from the same period last year. Wacker notes that its sale and earnings for its polysilicon unit dropped because of continued pressure on prices and high inventory levels in the solar industry.

Q3 2012 solar-silicon prices were nearly 40% lower than last year’s levels, although Wacker states that sales volumes were somewhat higher year-over-year and in comparison with Q2 2012. Wacker acknowledged that it curtailed production in the third quarter in order to bring production levels more in line with customer demand. EBITA for the division resulted in €78.8 million, a 56% cut from Q3 2011.

In its outlook for the full 2012 year, Wacker expects that PV capacity will reach 30GW, and continue on to 40GW next year. However, it forsee’s inventory levels remaining very high in the supply chain, which means that the inventories must first be reduced and, ultimately, impact the industry’s demand for polysilicon.

In moving with the current market conditions, Wacker has delayed the completion of its polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tennessee, but hopes to have the site in production by mid-2015. Further, because of the low volume and prices, Wacker anticipates its full-year 2012 revenues for its polysilicon unit to be below last year’s levels, and more in line with the trend reported for the first nine months of the year.

“The Wacker Group has performed respectably in a difficult third quarter despite a number of challenges,” said CEO Rudolf Staudigl.

“Our chemical business developed well, with higher sales and earnings. However, the continued slowdown in global economic growth and the particular problems in the solar industry left their mark on our figures for Q3 2012. Sustained price competition, high inventories, the difficult financial situation of many market players and the anti-dumping proceedings against Chinese solar manufacturers currently characterize our polysilicon business. But, on the other hand, generating solar power is becoming steadily less expensive. We are confident that the photovoltaic market will continue to grow, and that we will ultimately benefit from the consolidation in the long term, because Wacker is a quality and cost leader in this business.”


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