REC Silicon posts lower Q3 revenues, may sell Montana factory

The Moses Lake polysilicon factory. Source: REC Silicon. License: All Rights Reserved.

November 4 (Renewables Now) - Norway-based polysilicon and silicon gas supplier REC Silicon ASA (STO:RECO) last week reported a USD-5.6-million (EUR 5m) loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (LBITDA) for the third quarter of 2019, narrowing from USD 6.1 million a year back.

The LBITDA compares with a positive result of USD 500,000 in the second quarter, REC Silicon said, explaining that the decrease is mainly a result of a production halt due to planned maintenance at its Butte, Montana, production facility and severance payments in connection with the closure of the Moses Lake plant. Higher power costs for the semiconductor materials factory in Butte and equipment failure at the site also weighed on the result.

The Norwegian firm in May shut down the fluidised bed reactor (FBR) polysilicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington, due to weak demand and uncertain market conditions due to the US-China solar trade dispute. At the start of September, it announced it will consider the divestment of the Butte manufacturing facility, which mainly supplies silicon gases and semiconductor polysilicon to the semiconductor sector, and said that if it gets “an acceptable bid” it will go ahead with the sale and use funds from it to retire debt and prepare to restart the Moses Lake plant once it regains access to the Chinese market.

REC Silicon booked a third-quarter net loss of USD 20.2 million, expanding from USD 19.6 million a year ago. The wider loss came in line with a decrease in revenues, to USD 36.4 million from USD 43.7 million, as the volumes of polysilicon sales shrank.

The table below shows more details on REC Silicon’s financial performance.

Amounts in USD Q3 2019 Q2 2019 Q3 2018 9mo 2019 9mo 2018
Total polysilicon production (tonnes) 340 980 1,615 2,828 7,616
Total polysilicon sales (tonnes) 1,155 2,090 1,113 5,249 6,094
Silicon gas sales (tonnes) 860 834 865 2,523 2,680
Revenues 36.4m 47m 43.7m 128.4m 172.3m
-- from semiconductor materials 29.7m 34.8m 37.6m 96.7m 113.9m
-- from solar materials 6.6m 12.2m 6.2m 31.7m 59.3m
EBITDA (loss) (5.6m) 0.5m (6.1m) (9.9m) (1.1m)
EBIT (loss) (17.1m) (32.9m) (16.9m) (68.5m) (392.6m)
Net profit (loss) (20.2m) (37.8m) (19.6m) (81.5m) (333.5m)

Cash inflows from operations amounted to USD 9 million, while cash inflows from investing activities came at USD 400,000. Cash outflows from financing activities totalled USD 1.6 million at end-September.

For the final quarter of 2019, REC Silicon expects polysilicon production of 250 tonnes, while for the full year it is seen to stand at 3,078 tonnes. The firm said it has no intention to restart the FBR facility in Moses Lake for now, “until significant positive developments in solar grade polysilicon markets occur.”

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.896)

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