Wacker Chemie AG (WCH), the German chemical
maker that turns 100 this year, reported fourth-quarter earnings
that beat analyst estimates on higher demand for polysilicon, a
material used in solar panels.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization rose 18 percent to 158 million euros ($214
million), the Munich-based company said today in an e-mailed
statement. Analysts had estimated 126.1 million euros, according
to a Bloomberg survey.
Chief Executive Officer Rudolf Staudigl said today that
fourth-quarter performance offers a good basis for starting the
new year. Wacker’s shares have rebounded 33 percent since a Nov.
4 trough as prices for polysilicon, a raw material in solar
panels, have stabilized on stronger demand.
“In polysilicon, volumes picked up strongly, even though
prices have not improved noticeably in the fourth quarter,” the
CEO said in today’s statement. “In chemicals, demand was very
healthy despite the usual slowdown during the winter months.”
Sales in the quarter gained about 7 percent to 1.09 billion
euros, beating a 1.07 billion-euro analyst estimate.
Wacker will book an extra 115 million euros in special
income in the first quarter after restructuring a contract with
one of its customers, the manufacturer said last week. The
delivery relationship with the solar-silicon client has changed,
Wacker said, without disclosing the name or any further details.
Earnings will also be boosted by an agreement to increase
to a majority, the ownership in a silicon-wafer joint venture
with Samsung Electronics Co. Wacker Chemie will include the
Singapore business’s earnings in its books, it said last month.
Polysilicon prices have benefited as China and the European
Union have backed away from a trade war. China said on Jan. 24
that it decided, at least temporarily, not to levy duties on
polysilicon imported from the EU. The U.S. and the EU both
imposed anti-dumping duties on solar cells imported from China
and EU tariffs have since been lifted.
Wacker Chemie is majority-owned by the founding family’s
holding company, Dr. Alexander Wacker Familiengesellschaft mbH.
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Sheenagh Matthews in Frankfurt at
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