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Wacker Chemie Says Polysilicon Demand ‘Noticeably’ Higher

Wacker Chemie AG, the fourth-biggest maker of polysilicon, posted quarterly earnings in line with estimates and said demand for the component for solar panels was “noticeably” higher than in the previous period.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the first quarter fell 23 percent from a year earlier to 164.5 million euros ($215.5 million), the Munich-based company said today in a statement. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted 166.9 million euros.

Wacker reiterated a full-year forecast for sales to remain at last year’s level while earnings will fall due to lower prices for solar silicon and semiconductor wafers. The company’s shares have gained by about a third from a record low in November that was triggered by increased competition from Chinese suppliers and lower polysilicon prices.

“After last year’s weak fourth quarter, Wacker Chemie is experiencing noticeably higher customer demand,” according to the company. “Solar-silicon prices remain a major challenge,” Chief Executive Officer Rudolf Staudigl said in the statement.

The shares rose as much as 4.5 percent to 55.64 euros in Frankfurt trading and were up 3.4 percent at 55.07 euros as of 9:21 a.m. local time. The company has a market value of 2.9 billion euros.

First-quarter sales fell 9.9 percent to 1.08 billion euros while net income attributable to shareholders declined 90.5 percent to 4.1 million euros.

“In view of the general situation, Wacker got off to a satisfactory start in 2013,” Staudigl said. “While 2013 on the whole will not be an easy year for Wacker, we are well-positioned, even in a difficult business environment.”

The manufacturer is majority-owned by the founding family’s holding company.

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