Wacker lowers its outlook for polysilicon unit

Sales at Wacker Polysilicon climbed 3% in 2017 to €1.12-billion (2016: €1.1-billion). Growth was due to a strong rise in volumes despite lower average prices. Prospects of stronger volume and sales growth were impeded by the loss of production at Charleston, KY. As a result, the company’s polysilicon unit had a shortfall of around 6,000 mt of polysilicon that would have been available for sale. EBITDA amounted to €290.4-million, rising by 2 percent (2016: €285.9-million). This gain mainly stemmed from higher sales and a decline in production costs.

In its polysilicon business, given the present production shutdown at Charleston, Wacker’s 2018 forecast is that volumes will be at last year’s level, amid lower average prices for polysilicon; the plant was closed on Sept. 7, 2017. Consequently, sales are expected to fall below last year’s figure by a high-single-digit percentage. EBITDA is projected to climb slightly year over year, supported by the continued success of cost-cutting measures, and taking account of insurance compensation.

In 2017, WACKER SILICONES posted substantial sales growth. Climbing 10 percent, its sales reached €2.2-billion (2016: €2-billion). The rise was due to volume gains and somewhat higher prices. EBITDA growth outpaced sales gains year over year. EBITDA climbed 23% to €444.9-million (2016: €361.2-million). This trend was driven by strong volume growth, by somewhat higher prices in several product groups, by high plant utilization and by good cost efficiency.

Overall, WACKER anticipates further increases in raw-material prices in 2018 and headwinds from a stronger euro against the US dollar.

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