"The flagship of chemistry in Bavaria" was how Minister President Horst Seehofer described Wacker Chemie AG. Addressing the Group management, he said: "You embody the motto that has made Bavaria successful: Don't manage the past - instead, win the future." Seehofer also stressed the various achievements of economic policy in Bavaria, including sound budgetary management. On the subject of transport policy, he intimated that work to link Burghausen and the Bavarian Chemical Triangle with the highway and railway network would proceed, and any existing gaps would be plugged.
Peter-Alexander Wacker, the Supervisory Board chairman of Wacker Chemie AG and great grandson of the company founder, spoke about his great grandfather. Showing great determination, stamina and courage, he said, Alexander Wacker made company a pioneering force for electrochemistry in Germany. The Group which he created had repeatedly found the strength to change, was characterized by long-term thinking and deeds, and set out to deliver customer-focused innovations from the very start.
Most of all, continued Wacker, his great grandfather had embraced the future with enthusiasm. "Creating tomorrow's solutions" was the Group's self-avowed maxim. WACKER had already engaged with the megatrends, by entering the worlds of biotechnology and solar silicon, as well as building up a global production and sales network, especially in Asia and China. In the USA, Charleston was about to be completed – this was a further polysilicon production site and also the keystone for an integrated production site in the world's second-largest chemicals market.
Peter-Alexander Wacker concluded his speech with the words "The biggest growth drivers of the future are globalization and people’s desire for higher standards of living." He noted that per capita demand for chemical products came to roughly 1500 euros a year in Germany, around 150 in China and about 60 in India. "These figures underscore the huge potential," he added. For that reason, he was unreservedly optimistic about the Group's future.
Rudolf Staudigl, President & CEO of Wacker Chemie AG spoke about the great history of chemistry in Germany, and the contributions made to it by WACKER. He listed the following:
- The 1st WACKER Process for the production of acetaldehyde and acetic acid from acetylene.
- Acetylene chemistry, which spawned polyvinyl acetate, polyvinyl alcohol and PVC in the 1920s and 1930s,
- The start of silicone research in 1947,
- The 2nd WACKER Process, developed in the late 1950s, for producing acetaldehyde from ethylene and which enabled the Group to switch to petrochemical feedstocks for its raw materials base,
- And the start of polysilicon production, also in the late 1950s.
"Even though the basis of our chemistry goes back decades in some cases, it has kept reinventing itself," Staudigl reminded the audience. "From the chemistry of carbides, acetic acid, adhesives and PVC, to semiconductor products and silicone chemistry, to solar silicon, our product portfolio has undergone constant change." In silicon, WACKER was providing the base material for highly integrated electronics and photovoltaics. Biotechnology, meanwhile, was opening up a whole new world for the Group and offered enormous growth potential. The future, predicted Dr. Staudigl, lay in the intersections between chemistry, physics, biology and information technology. "WACKER will always have a hand in the major trends of our time." Of that, the CEO had no doubt