REC Silicon plans on two-month shutdown of polysilicon plant

Inventory levels before and after shutdown of REC Silicon’s fluidized bed reactor polysilicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington
Inventory levels of REC Silicon’s polysilicon plant in Moses Lake would normalize after a two-month shutdown – Slide: REC Silicon

U.S.-based polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon has announced it will shut down its fluidized bed reactor (FBR) polysilicon plant in Moses Lake for two months in March and April if there is no solution in the current trade talks between China and the USA.

The company reduced its EBITDA loss from $6.1 million in the third quarter (Q3) of 2018 to $3.8 million in the fourth quarter (Q4), but its cash balance shrank to $31.8 million from $41.0 million in Q3, mainly due to a $6.3 million interest payment.

Although the Solar Materials Segment in Moses Lake almost doubled its polysilicon sales volume to 1,270 metric tons (MT) in Q4, it recorded an EBITDA loss of $9.1 million in the wake of an 18.2% price decline quarter over quarter. As most players in Taiwan have exited the silicon ingot and wafer business, REC Silicon now has only one (!) solar customer outside China anymore.

In contrast, the Semiconductor Materials Segment in Butte (including electronic-grade polysilicon and monosilane) achieved a positive EBITDA of $11 million in Q4 2018. Since Q1 2017, quarterly sales of electronic-grade polysilicon have nearly tripled from 118 MT to 304 MT.

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