Wacker decreased profit significantly yoy due to tumbling in prices for solar silicon

In the first quarter of 2019, German Wacker Chemie AG generated sales of €1.24 billion ($1.38 billion), an increase of two percent compared with the same period last year. Consolidated earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) totaled €0.1 million in the quarter. The loss in Q1 was €5.5 million ($6.1 million), compared to profit of €79.1 million ($88.3 million) in the same period of the previous year.
The Polysilicon division generated total sales of €211.1 million ($235.6 million), down four percent compared with Q1 2018. The main reason for this decline was the significantly lower average prices for solar silicon, says the company. This could not have been fully offset by the substantial year-on-year increase in sales volumes. Compared with the previous quarter (€188.6 million), revenue had grown by twelve percent, primarily due to volume factors.
According to CEO Rudolf Staudigl, the current market environment presents the polysilicon business with »considerable challenges«. Many market observers assumed that the price level for solar silicon would improve in the second half of the year. »In the quarter under review, however, there was no sign of such a development.« At the same time, electricity at the German sites had »become considerably more expensive within a year«. In order to counter price and cost pressure, the company is working to optimize production processes and »further expand our market share in the higher-margin business with particularly high-quality polysilicon for semiconductor applications and monocrystalline solar cells.«
Nevertheless, Wacker still expects consolidated sales for 2019 to remain a mid-single-digit percentage higher than in the previous year.

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