Wacker believes in polysilicon business despite likely loss in 2020

EBITDA of Wacker’s polysilicon division from 2007 through 2019
Rapidly falling polysilicon prices have eaten up the EBITDA of Wacker’s polysilicon division – Chart: Bernreuter Research

Although expecting a further loss for its polysilicon division in 2020 on par with the operating EBITDA loss of €55.6 million in 2019, management of German chemicals group Wacker has expressed confidence in the polysilicon business. At the presentation of the company’s 2019 results on March 17, CEO Rudolf Staudigl said: “We remain firmly confident that this business has a very good future.”

Staudigl builds his optimism on a strongly expanding PV market, the rising share of monocrystalline solar modules, which require high-quality polysilicon, and Wacker’s measures to reduce its polysilicon cash costs by more than 30% between 2017 and 2021.

In addition, Wacker has launched a company-wide program to achieve annual cost savings of €250 million by the end of 2022. Around 1,000 of the company’s 14,658 jobs (as of the end of 2019) will be cut, mainly in non-operational areas.

Citing electricity rates of less than 2 €Ct (2.2 $Ct) per kWh for competitors in China, however, Staudigl called for an industrial rate below 4 €Ct/kWh in Germany; currently, it is far above 5 €Ct/kWh.

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