January 18 (Renewables Now) - The polysilicon division of German chemicals company Wacker Chemie AG (ETR:WCH) has experienced a 76% year-on-year drop in 2018 EBITDA to EUR 70 million (USD 79.8m), according to preliminary figures.
Wacker Polysilicon has generated EUR 825 million in sales for the 12-month period, which is 27% less than in the prior year. CEO Rudolf Staudigl said that this division’s performance was affected by the tough market conditions in the solar sector and by business interruption costs at the company’s polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tennessee, where production was stopped in the first months of 2018 and the gradual ramp-up was concluded last month.
“We returned to full capacity there in early December 2018. But, as a result, there was not enough time left to conclude our talks with the insurer for fiscal 2018. We continue to expect that insurance compensation will fully cover the repair work at the site and the business interruption loss,” Staudigl said, adding that the company expect this to happen in 2019.
Despite the weaker performance of the polysilicon division, the group’s total preliminary sales for 2018 have increased slightly to EUR 4.98 billion from EUR 4.92 billion, mainly due to higher volumes and prices in chemicals. Still, full-year EBITDA has decreased by 8% to EUR 930 million and net profit plunged by 71% to EUR 260 million. It should be noted, though, that the group’s 2017 profit included income of EUR 635 million from discontinued operations.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.140)