Credit Suisse: Wacker to be squeezed out by Chinese competition

Wacker’s integrated chemical factory in Burghausen, Bavaria
Wacker’s German polysilicon plants are struggling with the low electricity rates of the Chinese competition – Image: Wacker Chemie

Analysts at Credit Suisse predict that “Wacker will remain a marginal producer of solar grade polysilicon near term and will be squeezed out by low cost Chinese production longer term.”

Two facts support this view:

1) In 2018 both total polysilicon imports and Wacker’s import volume into China shrank for the first time, each by approx. 12%.

2) The share of polysilicon for monocrystalline wafers in China’s total polysilicon output increased from 16% in early 2018 to 45% in late 2018.

When he presented Wacker’s 2018 results last week, CEO Rudolf Staudigl revealed some nervousness as he blamed “over-zealous” climate policies for electricity price hikes and warned of driving the chemical industry out of Germany.

The German newspaper Tagesspiegel called this “bizarre” because Wacker Polysilicon has been one of the big profiteers from Germany’s PV boom.

Like Europe’s PV industry before, Wacker now experiences China outcompeting foreign competitors through subsidies.

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