WACKER Greater China Achieves Strong Results in 2017 – Further Growth Expected in 2018
Bejing, Apr 24, 2018
WACKER, the Munich-based chemical group, posted its annual figures without Siltronic for the first time. WACKER Greater China achieved excellent results in 2017, contributing significantly to the Group’s overall performance. Amid rising domestic consumption, WACKER generated annual sales in China of €1.2 billion in 2017, up by about 10 percent compared with €1.1 billion the year before. At 20 percent, sales growth for specialty products was particularly robust. Spurred by China’s increasing living standards and by other megatrends such as the nationwide industry upgrade and green initiatives, WACKER Greater China expects further growth in 2018 and intends to enhance local R&D capabilities and expand its downstream capacities.
In 2017, WACKER Greater China posted continued growth in both chemicals and polysilicon. WACKER SILICONES, one of the WACKER’s three chemical divisions, generated strong, broad-based sales in China for specialty products, especially in consumer goods and in the automotive and construction industries. The higher sales prices partially helped offset short supply for standard products. WACKER’s aim is to continue raising the proportion of its sales accounted for specialty products, with high growth expected from products for electric vehicles, for example.
WACKER POLYMERS experienced strong volume growth from vinyl acetate-ethylene (VAE) dispersions and dispersible polymer powder in 2017, both of which benefited from growing demand for environmentally friendly materials and from the market transformation to high-quality products and products help to enhance productivity. In 2018, the division expects to generate moderate growth in the construction and industrial applications, with pressure anticipated from accelerating raw-material prices.
At WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS, the division’s product quality and reliability expanded its presence in China’s gum market. At the same time, WACKER’s natural fermented product grades satisfied rising local demand for healthy, functional and tasty food. The division anticipates further growth in 2018 thanks to innovative products. These include the new CANDY2GUM® boiling process, CAVACURMIN® (a highly bioavailable curcumin), and cyclodextrin products as the sustainable solutions for pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and coatings.
WACKER POLYSILICON lifted its sales further in 2017 as newly installed photovoltaic (PV) capacities increased in China and across the globe. PV has become an increasingly competitive power source thanks to its lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE). As a leader in quality, cost, customer proximity and application support, WACKER POLYSILICON expects its volumes to climb continuously in 2018, thanks to rising global demand for high-quality materials along with the rapid growth of monocrystalline PV.
“2017 was another very successful year for WACKER in China. Living standards in China continue to rise, which is boosting demand for the high-quality products we supply,” said Paul Lindblad, president of WACKER Greater China. “Moreover, we are also benefiting from China’s determined efforts to protect the environment and develop sustainably. Rising living standards and the ongoing transformation of industry will fuel WACKER Greater China’s further growth in 2018.”
To support the megatrends transforming industry and consumer demand, WACKER is stepping up investments in both innovation and production. WACKER has doubled its VAE-dispersion R&D synthesis capacity, launching a new lab in Shanghai in May 2017. WACKER’s ongoing expansion of its silicone R&D lab and the installation of a new food application lab are both due for completion by the end of 2018. To better support local and global customers in the field of electric vehicles, WACKER is also building an e-mobility competence center. Based in Shanghai, it includes a dedicated R&D lab and project team.
In addition, WACKER has invested over €600,000 in pilot facilities in Zhangjiagang to accelerate silicone innovation (from the lab through to large-scale production) and to optimize production processes. WACKER will use these facilities to develop not only adhesives and sealants for construction and industrial applications, but also elastomers, particularly for the energy and electronics industries. The new pilot facilities will come on stream successively since second half of 2018.
Given the growth in demand, Nanjing’s VAE-dispersion capacity is set to increase by a further 30,000 metric tons in the second half of 2018, while silicone-elastomer capacity at Zhangjiagang will expand by several thousand metric tons in the same period.
“We were encouraged by President Xi’s speech at the Boao Forum about China’s economy opening up further,” said Paul Lindblad. “Given China’s strong support for trade, its increased efforts to protect intellectual property rights and the more attractive investment environment, we are confident that WACKER will continue investing in local R&D and production capabilities, growing together with China as the country enters its “new era.”