WACKER, like most companies, is affected by general economic trends. Due to our product portfolio, we are able to cushion the cyclical movements of individual sectors to an extent. Our customer structure is so diverse that WACKER is not dependent on any one major customer. In fiscal 2008, attention firmly focused on euro exchange rates and further movements of raw material and energy prices. We attempt to dampen negative exchange-rate effects via hedging and expansion of our supply chain outside the eurozone. Rising raw material and energy costs prompted us to raise prices for many of our products in the year under review. Raw-material costs and the euro rose yet again during the first half of 2008, impacting sales and earnings.
The EU-wide REACH legislation came into force in June 2007. It governs the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals within member states. REACH imposes new regulations on manufacturers, importers and users of chemical products. Over the next few years, all substances on the European market must be registered and classified according to their properties if annual quantities exceed one metric ton.
WACKER Is Well-Prepared for REACH – the New EU Chemical Policy
In accordance with REACH deadlines, phase-in substances were preregistered in the second half of 2008. This chiefly included substances already listed in the European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances (EINECS) and substances that had been manufactured at least once in the last 15 years before REACH came into force, but had never been placed on the market. We preregistered over 6,000 substances with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and therefore met the deadline for completing the first step of REACH implementation.
WACKER also submitted the first batch of registration dossiers. This part of REACH will occupy us for the next ten years right up to the extended registration deadline. Even after this deadline, REACH will require us to register new substances.
In late 2008, moreover, the European Regulation on Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP) was published. The EU Commission’s aim is to introduce the UN’s new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) to Europe.
The general legislative framework for Wacker Chemie AG did not change substantially in 2008. As a result, no additional conditions were imposed on our business operations.