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OCI Slides to Four-Year Low After Profit Plunges 87%

OCI Co., South Korea’s biggest maker of polysilicon for solar cells, sank to a four-year low in Seoul trading after reporting a worse-than-estimated 87 percent drop in quarterly operating profit.

OCI slid as much as 3.4 percent to 156,500 won, before trading 3.1 percent lower at 9:50 a.m. on the Korea Exchange. That’s the lowest intraday level since Oct. 29, 2008. The benchmark Kospi index added 0.3 percent.

Operating profit dropped to 33 billion won ($30 million) in the three months ended September from 252.4 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing yesterday. The average of 22 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 79.9 billion won. Solar manufacturers from China to the U.S. are under pressure because oversupply has depressed prices.

“It’s an earnings shock,” Kim Seung Woo, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co., wrote in a report, where he cut his share-price estimate by 19 percent to 183,000 won. “There’s still considerable uncertainty over the timing of a polysilicon price rebound.”

The spot price of polysilicon has been falling since February, dragging down the price of long-term contracts for the material derived from sand. Such contracts, which still account for a large part of sales, are now in the $23 to $25 a kilogram range, according to most analysts. Only last year they averaged about $51 a kilogram, depending on quality, BNEF data shows.

Woori Investment & Securities Co. and NH Investment & Securities Co. also reduced their share-price estimates on OCI. The stock has fallen 28 percent this year, compared with a 7.2 percent gain in the Kospi.

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