February 21 (Renewables Now) - Wacker Chemie AG (ETR:WCH), the German producer of chemicals and polysilicon, announced on Thursday it will cut more than 1,000 jobs by the end of 2022 as part of a new efficiency programme.
The layoffs will affect the company’s administrative departments and the indirect, non-operational functions of its business divisions, with over 80% of the job cuts occurring at domestic sites. In Germany, Wacker has about 10,000 employees out of a total of 14,500 worldwide.
The newly introduced programme, called Zukunft gestalten, or Shape the Future, is aimed at increasing competitiveness and profitability. It is expected to help the company save some EUR 250 million (USD 270m) a year by lowering material costs and in-house services, as well as by establishing a leaner company structure.
CEO Rudolf Staudigl commented that the group is getting ready for a harsher competitive environment, both regarding its polysilicon and chemicals operations.
“Our aim is not only to achieve significant cost-savings, but also to decisively strengthen Wacker for tomorrow’s challenges and secure a long-term competitive-edge,” he added.
The company will prepare a package of measures, covering retirement, semi-retirement and severance agreements, to lower its headcount in a socially responsible manner. In this way, it can avoid compulsory layoffs.
In late January, Wacker reported a 16% year-on-year drop in preliminary earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to EUR 780 million. It blamed the decline on lower average prices for solar-grade polysilicon and inventory valuation adjustments, among other factors.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.081)