Wacker, a polysilicon manufacturer, saw a revenue rebound in the second half of 2020, but continuing cost cuts combined with poor first-half demand resulted in polysilicon plant utilization rates at around 85 percent.
Wacker previously posted a first-quarter net profit of 106.6 million euros, up from 68.9 million euros the previous year. Earnings per share are 2.06 euros, up from 1.31 euros. EBITDA was 246.4 million euros, a 42 percent increase over the previous year.
Wacker’s polysilicon revenues fell to €152.5 million in the second quarter of 2020, the company’s weakest quarterly figures in over ten years. However, it reacted strongly in the second half of the year.
The company’s revenue in the fourth quarter hit €244 million, the highest quarterly volume since the fourth quarter of 2017, as the year ended with a relatively stable year-on-year performance.
The currently ongoing WOS initiative to lower operational expenses year over year resulted in a decrease in the number of polysilicon workers to 2,180, down from 2,333 at the end of 2019. Wacker stated that its EBITDA would increase by approximately €60 million in 2020 as a result of downsizing, increased automation, and improvement of polysilicon facilities.
Total profits were considerably higher at €4.7 million, relative to €56.9 million in 2019, with the 2019 figure modified to consider the special income of €112.5 million from the Charleston factory accident. In 2020, the EBITDA margin was 0.6 percent, down from 7.3 percent the previous year.
Wacker had planned to save €250 million a year by the end of 2022, with non-personnel expenses accounting for about half of that figure and a net staff loss from global activities of about 1,200. The largest of the employment cuts, almost 1,000, will occur in Germany.
Wacker is also likely to focus on reducing polysilicon plant energy usage at its German plants, especially through the installation of a new gas-fired turbine. This results in a CO2 output footprint that is said to be four times smaller than that of Chinese rivals.
Wacker acknowledged that recent increases in quantity and price may result in a revenue rise in the lower double-digit percentage scale. The EBITDA margin for 2021 is projected to rise sharply, but no further details are available.
In addition, polysilicon capital investments were reduced to €24.9 million due to cost savings, down from €35.3 million the previous year. There are currently no proposals to increase polysilicon production in 2021.