Wacker to invest €800m in 2009, will boost polysilicon - CEO

18 March 2009 11:48  [Source: ICIS news]

MUNICH (ICIS news)--Wacker Chemie plans to invest €800m ($1.04bn) in 2009, with the "vast majority" going towards its polysilicon business, president and CEO Rudolf Staudigl said on Wednesday.

"We see absolutely no sign of slowdown in demand for polysilicon from our customers," Staudigl said at the company's annual press conference.

"We definitely expect our polysilicon business to remain attractive over the next few years and that's why we are continuing to expand capacity," he added.

Wacker plans to boost its polysilicon capacity from 15,000 tonnes/year today to 35,500 tonnes/year by the end of 2011, said Staudigl.

Major expansions include its Polysilicon Stage 8 project in Burghausen, Germany, which will add 10,000 tonnes by the end of 2010 and its Stage 9 project in Nunchritz, which will add 10,000 tonnes by the end of 2011.

The Stage 8 project in Burghausen is being expanded from its original target of 7,000 tonnes, to 10,000 tonnes at an additional cost of €100m, while the Stage 9 Nunchritz facility will cost about €760m.

"Eighty percent of our production yield has already been sold for several years ahead, including output from Stage 8. Some of our supply contracts run until 2018," said Staudigl.

Wacker, which released its annual and fourth quarter results earlier on Wednesday, spent a record €916m in capital investments in 2008. Despite the heavy expenditures, the company has a net cash position of €30m and access to €500m in credit facilities.

Wacker Polysilicon sales jumped 81% to €828m for the full year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 132% to €422m.

Overall Wacker sales rose 14% to €4.3bn and EBITDA climbed 5% to 1.06bn.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Joseph Chang
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