Wacker Chemie Jumps on Increase in Polysilicon Production

Wacker Chemie AG, the fourth-biggest maker of polysilicon, rose the most in a month in Frankfurt trading after saying it will increase production to meet demand from solar-power developers.

Wacker jumped as much as 6.6 percent, the most since Jan. 10, and was up 5.3 percent at 58.49 euros as of 3:24 p.m. local time. The stock has gained 18 percent this year, valuing the Munich-based manufacturer at 3.05 billion euros ($4.1 billion).

The company has ended restrictions on working hours imposed in October at its German Burghausen factory, it said today in a statement. Wacker, currently operating at two-thirds of capacity, said it sold more polysilicon than forecast in January and orders are outpacing production following a drop in prices.

Manufacturers of the material, used in solar cells, curtailed output last year after a supply glut sent prices below production costs. Polysilicon spot prices fell to a record-low $15.83 a kilogram in December and have since recovered to $16.26, according to a survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“Our customers’ inventories, which had been built up, were reduced in the fourth quarter,” Chief Financial Officer Joachim Rauhut said in a Feb. 7 interview after the company reported earnings. “There are still overcapacities in the market, so first volumes will rise; in the second phase, positive price effects could happen.”

In November, the shares fell to the lowest price since starting to trade in 2006 as Wacker grappled with competition from Asian producers. The company has delayed output at a new polysilicon factory in Tennessee by 18 months to counter overcapacity.

(Adds polysilicon prices in fourth paragraph.)
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