We expect the world economy to continue expanding through 2011 and 2012. Customer demand, however, is no longer likely to rise as dynamically as in 2010. Growth will be strongest in Asia, especially China and India, and we anticipate higher demand for our products and services in Brazil and the Middle East. Although sustained economic growth boosts our business, it pushes up energy and raw-material prices at the same time. Compensating for these price rises will be one of our main challenges. Group sales for 2011 are forecast to exceed €5 billion for the first time, with every division contributing to this growth. As for EBITDA, it should reach the high prior-year level. If economic conditions develop as positively as predicted, our sales and EBITDA will continue climbing in 2012.
As in previous years, WACKER’s investments will focus on polysilicon-capacity expansion. Already high in 2010, investments will grow markedly over the next two years amid strong and sustained polysilicon demand for manufacturing solar cells and modules. The numerous contracts we have concluded with customers for future polysilicon deliveries reflect the robust demand for high-quality material. We have contractually secured most of our planned polysilicon deliveries until 2014, including the output from the plant being built in Tennessee, which is expected to come on stream in late 2013.
This forecast takes account of all events that were known at the time of preparing the annual financial statements and that could influence our operations in 2011 and beyond.