WACKER Greater China Achieved Sales for 2020 at Year-Earlier Level Despite Challenges and Expects to Return to Growth in 2021
Shanghai, Apr 19, 2021
WACKER, the Munich-based chemical group, posted sales in China for 2020 that were only 0.3 percent lower than a year earlier despite challenges. At WACKER Greater China, sales came in at €1.025 billion (2019: €1.05 billion), restrained by unfavorable exchange rates and insufficient raw-material supplies for silicone products. In 2021, WACKER Greater China expects to resume growth, benefiting from higher domestic consumption and from upgrading within the manufacturing industry.
After an uncertain start to 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak, WACKER’s sales in China rebounded strongly as of Q2, when the pandemic was well contained throughout the region. Customer demand for most of WACKER’s products was high for full-year 2020.
WACKER SILICONES, the group’s largest business division, performed soundly in China despite sales being restrained by insufficient raw-material supplies. Business was particularly strong in sectors such as renewable energy, electronics and consumer products.
At WACKER POLYMERS, both sales and volumes rose. Construction polymers grew especially robustly due to the recovery of China’s construction industry.
With social and travel activities dampened, chewing gum consumption fell significantly in 2020. As a result, WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS, the world’s largest PVAc manufacturer for chewing gum base, posted a sales drop last year.
Thanks to volume growth and a better product mix, WACKER POLYSILICON, the division responsible for hyperpure polysilicon for both the photovoltaics and semiconductor industries, returned to growth in 2020 after a 2-year decline.
“Looking forward, we will benefit from China’s focus on quality growth, reflected in its target of increasing GDP by a mild 6 percent or more in 2021. Quality growth is where WACKER’s innovative products will support rising domestic consumption and the manufacturing industry’s upgrading activities,” says Paul Lindblad, President of WACKER Chemicals (China) Co., Ltd. Moreover, China’s 2060 carbon neutrality target is creating opportunities for WACKER’s environmentally friendly products, ranging from polysilicon for photovoltaics, to silicone products for e-mobility and energy transmission and distribution, to energy-saving solutions for the construction industry. “As all our business divisions are expecting to increase sales in 2021, WACKER Greater China is confident about returning to growth this year,” says Paul Lindblad.
In recent years, WACKER has focused investments on local R&D and on downstream production capacity in the region. Last year, WACKER opened a new global competence center in Shanghai for thermal interface materials, where it conducts fundamental research and develops novel silicone-based thermal interface products and solutions for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and the telecommunication industry.
At year-end 2020 in Nanjing, WACKER began building a reactor for vinyl-acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions and a spray dryer for VAE dispersible polymer powders. With a total investment of around US$100 million, the two new plants are scheduled to come on stream in the second half of 2022. As a result, WACKER’s capacity for polymer products in China will more than double, enabling the company to meet growing customer demand for its high-quality binders, particularly from China’s buoyant construction industry.
In 2021, WACKER plans to inaugurate a new automatic filling line for cartridges at its integrated silicone manufacturing site in Zhangjiagang. WACKER’s low-VOC silicone sealants are environmentally friendly and widely used in construction and home improvement. The Zhangjiagang investment will boost capacity by 50 percent.