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WACKER Achieves Strong Sales Growth in Q3 2015 with Earnings Below Previous Year due to Lower Special Income

  • GROUP SALES FOR Q3 2015 REACH €1.36 BILLION, UP 10 PERCENT YEAR OVER YEAR
  • FAVORABLE EXCHANGE-RATE EFFECTS AND HIGHER VOLUMES LIFT SALES TREND
  • AT €264 MILLION, REPORTING-QUARTER EBITDA DOWN 24 PERCENT ON A YEAR AGO, PRIMARILY DUE TO LOWER SPECIAL INCOME
  • NET INCOME FOR Q3 2015 AMOUNTS TO €58 MILLION
  • FORECAST CONFIRMED: GROUP SALES FOR FULL-YEAR 2015 ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE BY ABOUT 10 PERCENT, WITH EBITDA GROWING MODESTLY WHEN ADJUSTED FOR SPECIAL INCOME

Munich, Oct 29, 2015

In Q3 2015, Wacker Chemie AG achieved substantial sales growth year over year, especially thanks to higher volumes and favorable exchange-rate effects. The Munich-based chemical company posted sales of €1,357.9 million between July and September (Q3 2014: €1,232.2 million), up a good 10 percent. All divisions generated year-over-year sales increases in the re¬porting quarter. Sales were down 1 percent compared with Q2 2015 (€1,370.5 million), primarily because of somewhat lower semiconductor-wafer volumes.

WACKER’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in Q3 2015 amounted to €264.3 million (Q3 2014: €347.5 million), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 19.5 percent (Q3 2014: 28.2 percent).

The main reason for this strong, almost 24-percent decline in EBITDA was lower special income from advance payments retained and damages received from solar-sector customers. Whereas special income came in at €92.3 million in Q3 2014, WACKER posted only €17.8 million for this item in the reporting quarter.

Compared with the second quarter (€329.0 million), Group EBITDA declined by just under 20 percent, with lower special income again being a key factor in this trend. In Q2 2015, WACKER had recognized €86.7 million for advance payments retained and damages received.

WACKER’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to €125.5 million in Q3 2015 (Q3 2014: €196.3 million). That was a decrease of 36 percent and yielded an EBIT margin of 9.2 percent (Q3 2014: 15.9 percent). Here, again, the decrease was due to the lower amount of special income recognized at WACKER POLYSILICON. Adjusted for non-recurring effects, the WACKER Group’s EBIT increased by just under 4 percent year over year. Net income for the reporting quarter amounted to €58.2 million (Q3 2014: €119.0 million) and earnings per share came in at €1.21 (Q3 2014: €2.43).

WACKER confirmed its forecast for full-year 2015. The company expects Group sales to rise by about 10 percent (2014: €4.83 billion) and thus surpass €5 billion for the first time ever. EBITDA on a comparable basis, i.e. adjusted for special income, is expected to increase slightly. Group net income is likely to be somewhat lower than a year ago because special income will probably not be as high this year as it was in 2014.

“After the first nine months of the year, we are well on track to achieve our targets for 2015,” said CEO Rudolf Staudigl in Munich on Thursday. “Without doubt, the economic environment has become considerably more challenging in the last few months for us as well. However, recent weeks have once again shown that one of WACKER’s greatest strengths lies in its broad portfolio of products and solutions for a large number of key industries. The good performance of our chemical business has been instrumental in compensating for – and cushioning – the impact of the challenges we face in the solar and semiconductor industries.”

Regions

In the reporting quarter, Asia was once again by far the largest market for WACKER products, with generating a good 42 percent of total Group sales (Q3 2014: 41 percent) there in the three months to September 2015. At €575.8 million (Q3 2014: €501.1 million), sales were up 15 percent year over year. All of the Group’s business divisions exceeded their respective prior-year figures for sales in Asia, with growth being strongest for polymer products and silicones. The Group as a whole almost matched its sales figure for the preceding quarter (€577.4 million).

In Europe, WACKER achieved third-quarter sales of €316.5 million (Q3 2014: €293.4 million), up just under 8 percent year over year and almost 1 percent quarter over quarter (Q2 2015: €314.1 million). All of the business divisions exceeded their respective prior-year figures, except for WACKER POLYSILICON, where sales in Europe declined.

WACKER’s sales in Germany came in at €173.6 million in the reporting quarter (Q3 2014: €174.8 million), nearly 1 percent lower than a year earlier, but almost 1 percent higher than in the preceding quarter (€172.1 million). Whereas business in semiconductor wafers and chemical products in Germany grew slightly overall, sales of polysilicon declined in this region.

Favorable exchange-rate effects continued to have a positive impact on sales in the Americas in Q3 2015. WACKER’s third-quarter sales in that region amounted to €238.9 million (Q3 2014: €215.9 million), almost 11 percent more than a year ago. Compared with the previous quarter (€249.8 million), WACKER Group sales in the Americas declined by just over 4 percent. Somewhat lower volumes in individual product groups were one reason for this.

In total, WACKER generated over 87 percent of its third-quarter sales with customers outside Germany (Q3 2014: 86 percent).

Investments and Net Cash Flow

The WACKER Group invested €220.5 million in the third quarter of 2015 (Q3 2014: €152.9 million). That was 44 percent more than a year ago, and was the result of project-related factors and exchange-rate effects. The Group generated net cash flow of €36.2 million in Q3 2015 (Q3 2014: €178.4 million). Higher capital expenditures were the main reason for this decline of around €142 million. In addition to the Group’s good operating performance, damages received at WACKER POLYSILICON had a positive influence on cash flow.

The scheduled expansion of polysilicon production capacities remained the focus of investment activities at the WACKER Group in the third quarter, with projects of this kind accounting for around 70 percent of total investment spending during the quarter. Construction of the new polysilicon site in Charleston, Tennessee (USA) continued throughout the third quarter. WACKER expects the facilities at this site – the biggest single investment project in the company’s history – to start ramping up before the end of this year.

The company has expanded its production facilities for dispersions at Calvert City, Kentucky (USA), building a new reactor there with an annual capacity of 85,000 metric tons. Commissioning of the reactor began as planned in the reporting quarter. Capital expenditures for the new facilities and for infrastructure expansion amount to some €50 million.

Employees

Relative to Q2 2015, the number of WACKER employees worldwide changed only marginally during the third quarter of 2015. The Group had 17,021 employees as of September 30, 2015 (June 30, 2015: 16,928). At the end of the reporting quarter, WACKER had 12,321 employees in Germany (June 30, 2015: 12,378) and 4,700 at its international sites (June 30, 2015: 4,550).

Business Divisions

WACKER SILICONES significantly increased its sales and earnings in Q3 2015 compared with the prior-year quarter. Between July and September, the division generated total sales of €501.9 million (Q3 2014: €447.5 million), up a good 12 percent. Favorable exchange-rate effects and higher volumes were key reasons behind this sales gain. The division achieved better prices than a year ago in several product groups. Although customer demand was somewhat subdued at times, WACKER SILICONES’ sales only fell by just under 1 percent quarter over quarter (Q2 2015: €506.3 million). In Q3 2015, EBITDA at WACKER SILICONES rose a good 17 percent to €81.6 million (Q3 2014: €69.5 million), mainly due to sales growth. The division beat its prior-quarter EBITDA (€77.3 million) by almost 6 percent. The EBITDA margin increased to 16.3 percent, after 15.5 percent in Q3 2014 and 15.3 percent in Q2 2015.

In Q3 2015, WACKER POLYMERS posted total sales of €313.0 million (Q3 2014: €288.0 million), up almost 9 percent. Significantly higher volumes overall and positive exchange-rate effects were factors in this rise. The division’s sales were nearly 1 percent below the previous quarter (€314.6 million). Marginally lower average prices relative to the preceding quarter played a role here. WACKER POLYMERS’ EBITDA increased considerably between July and September 2015 both year over year and compared with Q2 2015. Year over year, EBITDA climbed some 34 percent to €64.7 million (Q3 2014: €48.2 million), with sales gains being one of the main reasons for this growth, and higher capacity utilization and lower raw-material costs also playing a role. WACKER POLYMERS beat its prior-quarter EBITDA figure of €56.8 million by around 14 percent. The EBITDA margin for the third quarter of 2015 was 20.7 percent, after 16.7 percent a year ago and 18.1 percent in Q2 2015.

WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS generated total sales of €50.4 million between July and September 2015 (Q3 2014: €45.2 million), thereby exceeding the prior-year figure by almost 12 percent. Higher sales volumes in some product segments and favorable exchange-rate effects were important factors in this rise. WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS posted quarterly sales around 4 percent below those of the previous quarter (€52.7 million), mainly due to lower volumes in some product segments. WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS’ EBITDA continued to grow as well. At €7.2 million (Q3 2014: €5.4 million), EBITDA was up by about €1.8 million on a year earlier, with higher sales being the main reason for this increase. Compared with the prior quarter (€9.5 million), EBITDA saw a sales-related decline of €2.3 million. The EBITDA margin for the third quarter of 2015 was 14.3 percent, after 11.9 percent a year ago and 18.0 percent in the preceding quarter.

In Q3 2015, WACKER POLYSILICON achieved total sales of €271.4 million (Q3 2014: €252.4 million), up almost 8 percent relative to a year earlier. Compared with the preceding quarter (€261.3 million), the increase amounted to just under 4 percent. Thanks to markedly higher volumes than in the prior-year quarter and Q2 2015, the division more than compensated for the declining market prices of polysilicon. WACKER POLYSILICON’s third-quarter EBITDA totaled €91.8 million, after €180.3 million a year ago. That was a decrease of 49 percent and yielded an EBITDA margin of 33.8 percent, after 71.4 percent a year earlier. The main reason for this decline was lower special income from advance payments retained and damages received from solar-sector customers. Whereas special income came in at €92.3 million in Q3 2014, WACKER POLYSILICON posted only €17.8 million for such income in the reporting quarter. Adjusted for this amount, EBITDA decreased by almost 16 percent year over year. In addition to lower special income, the division’s EBITDA was diminished by a year-over-year increase in start-up costs for the new polysilicon plant in Charleston and by lower polysilicon prices. Ongoing measures to lower costs and enhance productivity, however, had a positive impact on EBITDA in the reporting quarter. Adjusted for special income, the third-quarter EBITDA margin was 27.3 percent (Q3 2014: 34.9 percent). Relative to Q2 (€161.4 million), EBITDA was down by more than 43 percent. Again, a key factor here was the change in special income. In the preceding quarter, WACKER POLYSILICON had recognized €86.7 million in advance payments retained and damages received. Adjusted for special income, the EBITDA margin in Q2 2015 was 28.6 percent.

As a result of favorable exchange-rate effects, Siltronic more than compensated for softer semiconductor-wafer prices and achieved a year-over-year increase in total sales in Q3 2015. Siltronic’s July-through-September sales amounted to €230.6 million (Q3 2014: €216.0 million), up just under 7 percent compared with a year earlier. Relative to the second quarter (€246.7 million), sales declined by just under 7 percent. This decrease was mainly attributable to lower volumes, because, as expected, Siltronic customers reduced inventory. Siltronic’s third-quarter EBITDA totaled €29.4 million, after €33.2 million in Q3 2014, a decrease of just over 11 percent. The main reasons for this decline were lower wafer prices in US dollars and yen as well as currency-hedging losses, which decreased Siltronic’s third-quarter EBITDA by €15.5 million. In contrast, higher sales relative to Q3 2014 and good coverage of fixed costs due to high plant-utilization rates had a positive impact on earnings, as did Siltronic’s efforts to cut costs and enhance productivity. Compared with the preceding quarter (€31.4 million), Siltronic’s EBITDA decreased by more than 6 percent, with lower sales being a factor. Siltronic’s Q3 EBITDA margin was 12.7 percent, after 15.4 percent in Q3 2014 and 12.7 percent in Q2 2015.

Outlook

All recent economic forecasts indicate that the global economy will continue growing this year. Much will depend on whether the equity-market situation, especially in Asia, regains long-term stability, and on how the geopolitical crises in Eastern Europe and the Middle East continue to unfold.

WACKER SILICONES expects to post a substantial increase in sales for full-year 2015. Particular areas of growth are products and applications for personal care and medical technology, as well as for the electrical and electronics sectors. EBITDA is expected to be markedly above the prior-year figure. However, higher silicon-metal prices in particular will dampen that increase somewhat.

WACKER POLYMERS anticipates that its sales will rise significantly in 2015, with both dispersions and dispersible polymer powders expected to be driving factors. The division projects that EBITDA will increase markedly year over year.

Sales at WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS, too, are expected to increase substantially in 2015. Now that Scil Proteins Production GmbH in Halle (Germany) has been integrated, the division sees further growth potential for its biologics business. Thanks to new product developments, a considerable sales rise is expected in the nutrition segment as well. WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS’ EBITDA is also projected to show a clear year-over-year increase.

WACKER’s polysilicon volumes and sales are expected to grow slightly in 2015. The company assumes that the photovoltaic market will continue on its growth trajectory. Nevertheless, overcapacity persists along the entire supply chain. That being the case, the division’s unchanged key objective is to continue to reduce polysilicon production costs. EBITDA is expected to decline significantly year over year, as special income in the form of advance payments retained and damages received will be lower in 2015 than last year. EBITDA will also be reduced by start-up costs at the new polysilicon production site in Charleston, Tennessee (USA).

Siltronic, too, is forecasting sales growth for the current year, fueled mainly by somewhat higher volumes and more favorable exchange rates than a year ago. Full-year EBITDA should be roughly on a par with last year’s figure.

Overall, WACKER expects full-year 2015 Group sales to grow by around 10 percent, provided economic conditions do not weaken further. Relative to 2014, the company anticipates a slight rise in EBITDA on a comparable basis, i.e. adjusted for special income. The EBITDA margin, on the other hand, will be somewhat lower. Return on capital employed (ROCE) is likely to be somewhat lower than last year’s figure of 8.4 percent. Capital expenditures will be substantially higher than last year, climbing to about €800 million. Depreciation will amount to around €600 million and thus remain roughly at the prior-year level. Net cash flow will be slightly positive. Net financial debt at year-end is expected to be roughly at last year’s level. Group net income is projected to be somewhat lower than last year.

Note to editors: The Interim Report for Q3 2015 can be downloaded from WACKER’s website (www.wacker.com) under Investor Relations.

Key Figures of the WACKER Group
€ million Q3 2015 Q3 2014 Change
in %
Sales 1,357.9 1,232.2 10.2
EBITDA 264.3 347.5 -23.9
EBITDA margin (%) 19.5 28.2 -
EBIT 125.5 196.3 -36.1
EBIT margin (%) 9.2 15.9 -
 
Financial result -23.5 -15.7 49.7
Income before taxes 102.0 180.6 -43.5
Net income for the period 58.2 119.0 -51.1
 
Earnings per share (€)
1.21 2.43 -50.2
 
Capital expenditures
(incl. financial assets)
220.5 152.9 44.2
Net cash flow 36.2 178.4 -79.7
 
€ million Sept. 30, 2015 Sept. 30, 2014 Dec. 31, 2014
Equity 2,752.7 2,113.5 1,946.5
Financial liabilities 1,446.9 1,592.8 1,601.5
Net financial debt 970.2 905.9 1,080.6
Total assets 7,322.0 7,045.6 6,947.2
 
Employees (number at end of period) 17,021 16,724 16,703

This press release contains forward-looking statements based on assumptions and estimates of WACKER’s Executive Board. Although we assume the expectations in these forward-looking statements are realistic, we cannot guarantee they will prove to be correct. The assumptions may harbor risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual figures to differ considerably from the forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such discrepancies include, among other things, changes in the economic and business environment, variations in exchange and interest rates, the introduction of competing products, lack of acceptance for new products or services, and changes in corporate strategy. WACKER does not plan to update the forward-looking statements, nor does it assume the obligation to do so.

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