Wacker Expects €630 Million Net Loss In 2019

Wacker Chemie Hit Hard By €760 Million Impairment Charge On Polysilicon; 2019 Preliminary Financials Show Net Loss Of €630 Million
04:50 AM (Beijing Time) - 30. January 2020

The year 2019 is likely to ring in net loss of €630 million for Wacker Chemie as its EBITDA for the period is expected to be down 16% on an annual basis.

Key Takeaways

  • Wacker has warned of a net loss of €630 million in 2019  due to impairment charge of €760 million on polysilicon facilities
  • Group EBIT will be a loss of €540 million and group EBITDA will be down 16% to €780 million
  • Lower prices for solar-grade polysilicon on annual basis due to overcapacities in China negatively impacted the polysilicon business division, and strong volume growth wasn’t enough to offset the price effect
  • Management is working on a comprehensive program to achieve cost savingsand concrete targets will be announced in Q1/2020

German chemicals and polysilicon producer Wacker Chemie expects its earnings in 2019 to go down significantly due to around €760 million (836 million) impairment charge on polysilicon facilities that reduces its EBIT and net result, according to its preliminary results. In December 2019, the company issued a warning of €750 million write-down (see China Woes For €750 Million Wacker Impairment Warning). 

“As already announced, Wacker will recognize this impairment on the carrying amount of its polysilicon production facilities in its financial statements. The charge reflects the company’s subdued expectations about future price developments for solar-grade polysilicon,” the management shared. The company’s EBIT is anticipated to be a loss of €540 million ($594 million) compared to a positive €390 million ($429 million) in 2018, while its net results will be also a loss at around €630 million ($693 million) compared to a net profit of €260 million ($286 million) in 2018.

In a preliminary note shared, the company said its group sales will be at the same level as the year before at €4.93 billion ($5.42 billion) but down by 1% due to the impairment charge and due to reduced average prices for solar-grade polysilicon, lower prices of standard silicones, a steep rise in Germany’s electricity prices, among other factors.

The management sees group EBITDA going down by 16% on an annual basis to €780 million ($858 million) in 2019 which also includes the insurance amount of €112.5 million ($123.7 million) it secured as compensation for the damage incurred at its Charleston fab in 2017.

Wacker’s polysilicon business division will report sales of €780 million, down 5% over 2018 due to lower YoY prices for solar-grade polysilicon caused by over-capacities in China.

Group CEO Rudolf Staudigl explained the company’s future course of action saying, “We are currently working on a comprehensive program to make Wacker more efficient and capable, and to achieve substantial cost savings. We expect already to announce concrete targets for this initiative in Q1/2020.” Wacker will publish its final full year results for 2019 on March 17, 2020. 

Although the US government got China to agree to purchase US made polysilicon under phase I of the bilateral trade agreement reached between the two nations earlier this year, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce extended tariffs on solar-grade polysilicon from the US and South Korea for another five years in a decision announced last week (see China Extends Tariffs On US & South Korea Polysilicon).

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani