2011 was a successful year for WACKER until part-way through the third quarter. Sales increased in all business divisions over the first nine months. The chemical divisions saw high capacity utilization and slightly rising or stable prices, as did WACKER POLYSILICON and Siltronic. Earnings development was slowed by high raw material costs. The economic situation turned at the middle of the third quarter, however. Incoming orders, particularly from the construction industry, declined in the chemical divisions. Siltronic’s sales volume and revenue from semiconductor wafers dropped. Excess capacities in the photovoltaic industry’s overall supply chain resulted in lower sales revenue and margins at WACKER POLYSILICON. Consolidation of this industry is continuing into 2012. On publishing the Q3 2011 figures, we revised our sales and EBITDA targets slightly downward due to changes in market demand and a noticeably subdued business outlook. The drop in polysilicon sales volumes clearly impacted sales revenues during the fourth quarter. Following the December 2011 decision to close the Siltronic plant in Hikari in 2012, we again revised our EBITDA forecast downward.
Our investments were slightly higher than anticipated. The rise in employee numbers was as expected. Payroll expenses, energy costs and depreciation were higher than planned. Despite a considerable rise, raw-material costs remained below the planned level. R&D costs stayed within our expectations. We finalized an important investment project by commissioning expansion stage 9 of our polysilicon production facilities in Nünchritz.