April 27 (Renewables Now) - The polysilicon division of German firm Wacker Chemie AG (ETR:WCH) reported slightly lower sales for the first quarter of 2017 at EUR 268.1 million (USD 292.4m) and said market conditions are difficult.
Higher solar-silicon prices, both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter, supported sales but could not compensate for the substantially lower volumes. Sales contracted by 2% on the year and 10% on the quarter.
“Spot-market prices for solar silicon have declined significantly in recent weeks. Generally, though, we anticipate further growth in the global photovoltaic market this year, which will have a positive impact on polysilicon demand,” said CEO Rudolf Staudigl. Wacker Polysilicon increased its inventory levels in Asia during the period of low spot-market prices so as to be able to shorten delivery times to customers in the region.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at EUR 70.5 million in the quarter. The result rose by 79% from a year ago, because in 2016 there were additional costs related to the commissioning of a new plant in Charleston, Tennessee. Meanwhile, EBITDA decreased by 19% from the preceding quarter, when the company booked special income of EUR 13.3 million from advance payments retained and damages received from solar-sector customers.
Wacker Chemie reported total quarterly sales of EUR 1.22 billion and a net profit of EUR 665.9 million. It expects full-year profit to multiply due to the deconsolidation of Siltronic, while sales are to increase by a mid-single-digit percentage relative to the EUR 4.63 billion in 2016.
(EUR 1 = USD 1.09)