Wacker starts short-time work at its German polysilicon plants

Sales, EBITDA and Capex of Wacker’s polysilicon division in Q1 2020 versus Q4 2019 and Q1 2019
Wacker’s polysilicon division felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with lower sales and EBITDA in the first quarter – Slide: Wacker

After running its German polysilicon plants at full steam for years, chemicals group Wacker has reduced the utilization rate to 70%. In response to slumping demand for solar-grade polysilicon in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company’s polysilicon division will work short-time starting on May 1, Wacker announced at the release of its first-quarter results on April 30.

Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tennessee, which produces electronic-grade polysilicon for the semiconductor industry, remains unaffected by the measure as the company sees continued strong demand for semiconductors.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on demand for solar-grade polysilicon, however, became already visible in the first quarter. Revenues of the polysilicon division declined from €192.6 million (US$209.1 million) in the previous quarter by 4.7% to €184.3 million ($200.1 million), due to both weaker volumes and lower prices.

Although the division made progress in cost reduction, the result was compensated by inventory evaluation effects. Thus, the EBITDA margin fell from 1.0% in the prior quarter to -7.4%.

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