Wacker Quarterly Profit Tops Estimates on Construction Chemicals

Wacker Chemie AG (WCH), Europe’s largest polysilicon maker, posted second-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates on higher demand for construction chemicals.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization in the quarter fell 22 percent from a year earlier to 188.2 million euros ($249.6 million), the Munich-based company said today in a statement. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated Ebitda of 171.4 million euros.

The manufacturer today reiterated a full-year forecast for sales to drop about 3 percent to 4.5 billion euros and earnings to fall because of lower selling prices for solar silicon and semiconductor wafers. An agreement between the European Union and China on solar products could mark an upturn for photovoltaics, the company said today.

“Our chemical divisions performed well during the April-through-June period,” Chief Executive Officer Rudolf Staudigl said in the statement. “In polysilicon, low price levels and trade-policy risks remain a challenge.”

Quarterly sales declined 5.9 percent to 1.15 billion euros, missing a 1.18 billion-euro estimate. Net income plunged 75 percent to 15.1 million euros.

Wacker, whose shares fell in November to the lowest price since its 2006 IPO, has gained 40 percent this year in Frankfurt trading. The manufacturer, majority-owned by the founding family’s holding company, Dr. Alexander Wacker Familiengesellschaft mbH, has a market value of 3.6 billion euros.

Wacker’s profitability has suffered as manufacturing capacity for polysilicon exceeded demand and the company faced increased competition from low-cost Asian producers. That prompted Wacker to delay output at a new polysilicon factory in Tennessee by 18 months.

Chinese competition against European manufacturers has now been limited after negotiators last week reached an agreement to curb EU imports of solar panels from China in exchange for exempting the shipments from punitive tariffs.

The accord would set a minimum price for imports of the renewable-energy technology from China. In return, Chinese manufacturers would be spared EU levies meant to counter below-cost sales, a practice known as dumping.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sheenagh Matthews in Frankfurt at smatthews6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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