Capacity at WACKER’s production facilities was utilized at higher rates in the second quarter of 2012 than during the first three months of the year. This has improved coverage of fixed costs and helped generate higher earnings for the Group compared with the first quarter. However, the substantial reduction in polysilicon prices was the main reason that the Q2 2011 earnings figures could not be matched in the quarter under review.
In the period from April to June 2012, WACKER achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of €240.5 million (Q2 2011: €324.8 million) – thus down 26 percent on the strong prior-year period. But when compared with Q1 2012 (€211.8 million), EBITDA actually improved by 14 percent. The EBITDA margin for the second quarter of 2012 was 19.7 percent, compared with 17.7 percent in the preceding quarter and 24.5 percent a year ago. The EBITDA reported for the quarter under review contains €19.4 million in advance payments that WACKER retained due to the termination of polysilicon supply agreements. The Group’s Q2 2012 earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to €110.3 million (Q2 2011: €215.1 million), down 49 percent from a year ago, but up 34 percent on Q1 2012 (€82.4 million). This represents an EBIT margin of 9.0 percent (Q2 2011: 16.2 percent). Net income for the period amounted to €60.6 million (Q2 2011: €142.7 million), which corresponds to earnings per share of €1.18 (Q2 2011: €2.87).
For the rest of the year, WACKER anticipates a general economic environment that will be challenging and marked by uncertainty. Europe’s financial and sovereign-debt crisis is intensifying the global economic risks. Moreover, ongoing consolidation and overcapacity in the solar industry are resulting in an extremely competitive market environment. Growing supply-chain inventories and financing difficulties among market participants could cause some polysilicon customers to not take full delivery or to delay taking delivery, or lead to the termination of contracts. This is why WACKER does not expect to reach its previous full-year sales projection of approximately €5 billion. 2012 sales for the Group are now expected to come in slightly below the figure reported for fiscal 2011 (€4.9 billion). EBITDA for fiscal 2012 is still likely to fall well short of the previous year’s figure of €1.1 billion.
“In the first half of 2012, the WACKER Group successfully handled both the economic and industry-specific challenges,” said CEO Rudolf Staudigl on Wednesday in Munich. “We counter the increased risks by, for example, flexibly managing capacity utilization at our production facilities. By doing so, we ensure that we can respond quickly and firmly to significant changes in customer demand. It remains our primary goal to keep WACKER well on track despite the more difficult underlying conditions.”
WACKER’s performance in the second quarter of 2012 varied rather widely across the individual regions. One of the major reasons for this divergence is the ongoing shift of the solar industry to Asia. In Asia, WACKER generated sales of €489.3 million between April and June 2012 – down only slightly from the prior-year figure (€499.8 million).
In Germany and the other European countries, second-quarter sales were down substantially from their respective prior-year figures. In Germany, second-quarter Group sales totaled €173.0 million – thus 29 percent lower than a year earlier (€242.8 million). In Europe excluding Germany, sales for the three months from April through June 2012 fell 11 percent to €292.2 million (Q2 2011: €329.5 million).
The Group posted a 6-percent increase in sales in the Americas. The main contributor here was the polymer business, which benefited from rising customer demand. Total sales for this region amounted to €224.4 million in the quarter under review (Q2 2011: €211.8 million).
In the markets combined under “Other regions,” second-quarter 2012 sales totaled €43.6 million, also somewhat higher than a year ago (€41.9 million). Overall, WACKER generated about 86 percent of its second-quarter 2012 sales with customers outside Germany (Q1 2011: 82 percent).
Investments and Net Cash Flow
In Q2 2012, WACKER continued on its path of strategic production-capacity expansion, with a total investment of €244.9 million, 18 percent more than a year earlier (€208.3 million). Over two-thirds of the investments were for expanding polysilicon capacity, particularly for ongoing construction of the new production site in Charleston, Tennessee (USA). At the Nanjing (China) site, construction of the new facilities for vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer dispersions and polyvinyl acetate solid resins progressed as planned in the quarter under review.
WACKER’s net cash flow from April through June 2012 totaled €-156.9 million, compared with €-81.3 million a year ago. The causes of this decline were increased investments, higher inventories, restructuring payments for the closure of the Hikari site in Japan, and the reduced net income for the period.
WACKER’s workforce declined in Q2 2012. On June 30, 2012, WACKER had 16,759 employees worldwide (March 31, 2012: 17,166). As of the end of the quarter, WACKER had 12,824 employees in Germany (March 31, 2012: 12,847) and 3,935 at its international sites (March 31, 2012: 4,319).
WACKER SILICONES reported total Q2 2012 sales of €422.9 million, essentially matching the prior-year period (€421.1 million). Compared to Q1 2012 (€401.0 million), sales rose 5 percent. Favorable exchange-rate effects compensated for lower silicone-product prices in the quarter under review. Since WACKER SILICONES was able to keep second-quarter 2012 plant utilization high, it achieved higher fixed-cost coverage than in Q1 2012. Despite persistent price pressures, this significantly contributed to an increase in the division’s EBITDA, which rose to €59.9 million in the quarter under review (Q2 2011: €50.1 million). This 20-percent rise on the prior-year quarter yielded an EBITDA margin of 14.2 percent (Q2 2011: 11.9 percent). The division beat its Q1 2012 EBITDA of €49.4 million by 21 percent.
WACKER POLYMERS further increased its total sales in Q2 2012 mainly thanks to higher volumes. The division’s sales grew 11 percent to €276.1 million (Q2 2011: €249.7 million). Compared with Q1 2012 (€233.8 million), sales climbed 18 percent. Seasonal effects from a springtime upturn in construction-related business also contributed to this gain. Thanks to favorable product-mix effects and high plant-capacity utilization, WACKER POLYMERS increased its second-quarter EBITDA to €45.3 million – a 42-percent increase from a year ago (€32.0 million). Compared with the preceding quarter (€34.1 million), the division’s EBITDA improved 33 percent. The EBITDA margin rose to 16.4 percent, compared with 14.6 percent in Q1 2012 and 12.8 percent in Q2 2011.
WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS generated total sales of €40.1 million in the April-through-June quarter (Q2 2011: €39.0 million). Thus, sales were at about the prior-year and preceding-quarter level (€41.2 million). The division experienced solid demand for gumbase polymers and for cyclodextrins and cysteine in the quarter under review. Product-related sales to the pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors were slightly lower year over year. Due to these lower sales at its pharmaceutical and agricultural businesses, WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS’ second-quarter 2012 EBITDA of €7.1 million was below the comparable prior-year figure (€8.6 million) and the preceding quarter’s figure (€7.9 million). This corresponds to an EBITDA margin of 17.7 percent (Q2 2011: 22.0 percent).
At WACKER POLYSILICON, ongoing consolidation in the solar sector and significantly lower market prices for solar silicon compared with a year earlier had their impact on the business trend in the second quarter of 2012. At €286.8 million, total sales were down 28 percent on the comparable prior-year period (€399.2 million). Measured against Q1 2012 (€366.6 million), sales were down by close to 22 percent. In the April-through-June 2012 period, some customers did not take full delivery of contracted quantities. This additionally held back the sales trend amid lower prices. Despite difficult market conditions, WACKER POLYSILICON achieved second-quarter 2012 EBITDA of €120.3 million (Q2 2011: €188.2 million). This contains €19.4 million in advance payments that WACKER retained due to the termination of polysilicon supply agreements. At 41.9 percent (Q2 2011: 47.1 percent), the EBITDA margin remained at a high level. In Q1 2012, EBITDA had been €150.1 million and the EBITDA margin 40.9 percent.
In the second quarter of 2012, Siltronic achieved total sales of €247.4 million (Q2 2011: €276.9 million). Although the division’s second-quarter volumes and sales were close to 11 percent lower year over year, they were, nonetheless, up 23 percent compared with Q1 2012 (€201.1 million). In the 300 mm wafer segment, volumes were some 10 percent higher than a year ago. Smaller diameters were below the prior-year level. Compared to Q1 2012, volumes rose for all wafer diameters. Growth by surface area sold was around 25 percent. Prices remained virtually stable relative to the preceding quarter. As announced, Siltronic generated positive EBITDA from April through June 2012. It came in at €13.0 million, compared to €37.3 million a year earlier. The EBITDA margin reached 5.3 percent (Q2 2011: 13.5 percent). In Q1 2012, Siltronic had still posted negative EBITDA of €-25.7 million. This included non-recurring expenses of € 14.8 million relating to the forthcoming closure of the 150 mm wafer production line at Siltronic’s Portland site.
For the rest of this year, WACKER anticipates a general economic environment that will be challenging and marked by uncertainty. The second quarter saw an intensification of the global economic risks arising from Europe’s financial and sovereign-debt crisis.
The photovoltaic market is likely to continue to grow worldwide in the years to come. That means customer demand for the high-quality solar silicon WACKER makes will continue to rise. But the solar-sector consolidation currently underway could also put WACKER customers in economic difficulty. This, in turn, could lead to the cancellation of individual supply contracts and failure to take full delivery of, or delayed taking delivery of, contracted quantities. Given the sustained pressure on prices all along the solar industry’s supply chain, WACKER POLYSILICON’s sales at the end of 2012 will fall short of last year’s levels.
In the semiconductor business, the slowdown in consumer activity could result in stagnant wafer volumes for the second half of 2012. From today’s perspective, the principal areas of growth for the division are in the 300 mm wafer segment and, regionally, in Asia. Accordingly, WACKER is proceeding with the announced production realignment for smaller wafer diameters and continues to concentrate on further optimizing its 300 mm wafer business.
At its chemical divisions, WACKER sees opportunities for additional growth this year, in spite of the economic uncertainties and the enduring high energy and raw-material costs.
WACKER now expects full-year 2012 sales for the Group to be slightly below the figure reported for fiscal 2011. Achievement of this goal will largely depend on developments in the world economy, competitive conditions in the solar industry and demand in the semiconductor market during the rest of the year. Earnings will be affected by the lower prices obtained for deliveries of solar silicon and by persistently high raw-material and energy prices. WACKER therefore reaffirms its view that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for full-year 2012 will fall well short of the previous year’s figure.
Information for editorial offices: The Q2 2012 report is available for download on the WACKER website (www.wacker.com) under Investor Relations.