Over the next two years, WACKER expects the world economy to continue growing, despite Europe’s persistent economic troubles and the risks involved in tackling the sovereign-debt crisis. According to our estimations, global growth will only be moderate in 2013, but will pick up momentum in 2014. For WACKER, 2013 will be a challenging year.
In 2013, the photovoltaic market will still be dominated by production overcapacity, by price pressures at each supply-chain stage and by ongoing consolidation. The anti-dumping proceedings currently pending in Europe against Chinese solar businesses and against international polysilicon manufacturers in China could impede our business. Given these unpredictable factors, it is impossible to forecast our polysilicon performance. Although we see the photovoltaic market continuing its moderate growth in 2013, our sales and earnings are again likely to be weaker than in the year-earlier period. As the cost and quality leader, though, we essentially expect to emerge from the consolidation process with renewed strength.
Due to the market situation in photovoltaics, we have reduced our capital expenditures for the next two years and extended the timeline for completing our new polysilicon site in Tennessee. These measures will ease our cash flow position in 2013.
Silicon-wafers for semiconductors will remain a weak market amid persistent price pressure in the first half-year, with market momentum not recovering until the second half.
In 2013, we expect to generate sales at the prior-year level. EBITDA will be below the prior-year level. The main uncertainty in the forecast stems from our polysilicon business. For 2014, we expect both sales and EBITDA to be higher than in 2013.
At our three chemical divisions, 2013’s sales should increase on the previous year. During 2013, energy and raw-material costs – the main factors affecting our production costs – are expected, in total, to stay at the prior-year level. Price pressures on standard silicone products will persist. We continue to see good growth opportunities for our dispersions business – especially in the USA, where the paper and carpet industry’s substitution of styrene-butadiene with VAE dispersions promises to translate into increased sales.
Nothing changed in our forecast up to the date of preparing the financial statements. Our silicon-wafer business started 2013 amid a weaker trend. Polysilicon quantities rose in the first few weeks, with prices remaining low. Our chemical divisions reported robust demand.