February 8 (Renewables Now) - German chemicals company Wacker Chemie AG (ETR:WCH) saw the fourth-quarter 2017 sales of its polysilicon division drop by 9% in annual terms due to lower available volumes for sale.
The division booked sales of EUR 270 million in October-December 2017, as compared to EUR 297 million (USD 363.2m) a year before, the German firm said on Thursday. The decline was mainly caused by a drop in volumes after the company temporarily shut down its manufacturing facility in Charleston, Tennessee. The plant, with an annual polysilicon production capacity of 20,000 tonnes, suffered an explosion in September 2017 that lead to a chemical leak and fire.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at Wacker’s polysilicon unit stood at EUR 65 million, down 25% on the year. The prior-year result included EUR 13 million of special income from advance payments and damages from solar-sector clients, while no such income was recorded in 2017. The division’s EBITDA in the quarter down not include any significant payments from insurers for the Charleston incident.
The company's overall 2017 sales and EBITDA both rose by 6% year-on-year to EUR 4.92 billion and EUR 1 billion, respectively. According to preliminary estimates, Wacker’s net profit will be EUR 885 million, improving from EUR 189 million a year earlier. “Thanks to very robust customer demand at both our chemical and polysilicon businesses, we continued to expand sales and earnings in 2017,” CEO Rudolf Staudigl said, adding that the company has either met or exceeded its forecast for the year.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.223)