Wacker Chemie AG (WCH), the German chemical maker that turns 100 this year, reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates on higher demand for polysilicon, a material used in solar panels.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 18 percent to 158 million euros ($214 million), the Munich-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Analysts had estimated 126.1 million euros, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Chief Executive Officer Rudolf Staudigl said today that fourth-quarter performance offers a good basis for starting the new year. Wacker’s shares have rebounded 33 percent since a Nov. 4 trough as prices for polysilicon, a raw material in solar panels, have stabilized on stronger demand.
“In polysilicon, volumes picked up strongly, even though prices have not improved noticeably in the fourth quarter,” the CEO said in today’s statement. “In chemicals, demand was very healthy despite the usual slowdown during the winter months.”
Sales in the quarter gained about 7 percent to 1.09 billion euros, beating a 1.07 billion-euro analyst estimate.
Wacker will book an extra 115 million euros in special income in the first quarter after restructuring a contract with one of its customers, the manufacturer said last week. The delivery relationship with the solar-silicon client has changed, Wacker said, without disclosing the name or any further details.
Earnings will also be boosted by an agreement to increase to a majority, the ownership in a silicon-wafer joint venture with Samsung Electronics Co. Wacker Chemie will include the Singapore business’s earnings in its books, it said last month.
Polysilicon prices have benefited as China and the European Union have backed away from a trade war. China said on Jan. 24 that it decided, at least temporarily, not to levy duties on polysilicon imported from the EU. The U.S. and the EU both imposed anti-dumping duties on solar cells imported from China and EU tariffs have since been lifted.
Wacker Chemie is majority-owned by the founding family’s holding company, Dr. Alexander Wacker Familiengesellschaft mbH.
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