General Sector-Specific Conditions

We expect economic trends in the sectors relevant to our business to be positive in 2015.

Semiconductor-Wafer Demand Likely to Rise in 2015

According to Gartner’s market research experts, semiconductor-wafer market volume will grow in 2015. Worldwide silicon-wafer sales by surface area sold are expected to rise 2.6 percent year on year to 68 billion cm2. Above-average growth of 3.6 percent is projected for the 300 mm wafer segment, with modest growth of 1.2 percent for wafers with diameters below 300 mm. Gartner analysts expect semiconductor revenues to rise by 5.2 percent globally in 2015 to around US$ 9.3 billion. Gartner also envisages slight increases in worldwide volumes and revenues in 2016. WACKER stands to benefit from further market growth for 300 mm wafers.

WACKER’s Key Customer Sectors




Trends in 2014


Trends in 2015













Growth, continuing market overcapacity and ongoing consolidation


Strong growth, continuing market overcapacity and ongoing consolidation






Energy / electrical


Slight growth


Slight growth



Weak growth


Slight growth

Photovoltaic Market Remains Challenging but Will Continue to Grow

The photovoltaic market will remain challenging in 2015. In particular, low profitability at many solar companies, production overcapacity and low prices will contribute to market uncertainty.

Photovoltaic-Market Trend in 2015

  Download XLS




Installation of New PV Capacity (MW)


Growth in 2015















Source: IHS; German Federal Network Agency; WACKER’s own market research




















Rest of Europe




























Other regions














On the other hand, the substantial fall in prices of recent years has made photovoltaics even more competitive compared with other energy sources, helping to create new markets and promote growth in global solar-application markets. China will remain the world’s largest and most important market in 2015. According to the market researchers at IHS, the USA, Japan and India are among the countries with a high rate of capacity additions. Regions with additional growth potential include Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa.

WACKER’s own market research indicates continued photovoltaic-market growth in 2015, with newly installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity likely to reach between 50 and 60 gigawatts (GW).

Chemical Industry Set to Continue to Grow Moderately in 2015

After a mixed year in 2014, the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) expects the eurozone economic recovery to continue in 2015 and production and sales to grow, with slightly lower prices for chemical products. Production output and sales are both projected to rise by 1.5 percent. Exports remain the growth driver in Germany’s chemical sector, with the USA still the biggest trading partner by far. The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) is not quite as optimistic about Europe, forecasting production growth of just 1 percent in 2015.

WACKER’s chemical divisions see growth opportunities primarily in the BRIC countries, in other emerging economies and in the USA. Given the growing affluence of emerging economies, we will increase our sales further in such countries as China and India, as well as in Southeast Asia. The WACKER portfolio includes many high-value products that are in demand among new customer groups. WACKER POLYMERS sees good growth potential for polymer-modified dry-mix mortars in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, and for substitution activities in the paper and carpet industries. WACKER SILICONES expects revenue growth in automotive electronics, cosmetics, personal care, construction and medical technology. The division plans to further increase the share of high-value products in its sales mix compared with standard products.

Global Construction Industry to Remain on Growth Trajectory

According to market research institute B+L Marktdaten GmbH, the construction industry will continue expanding over the next few years. Construction volume is forecast to grow by an average of 2.5 percent annually until 2017. The main driver is the entire Asian region, though volume growth is also anticipated in North and South America, the Middle East and Africa. In the USA, B+L Marktdaten GmbH also forecasts substantial growth for 2015 in particular, above all in the private-housing sector. Western Europe is expected to grow modestly in 2015. In Italy and Spain, there are initial signs of a construction-sector recovery. Renovation projects and energy efficiency will continue to provide WACKER with very good opportunities for growth in the years to come.

At WACKER POLYMERS, we expect construction-sector sales to climb in every region in 2015, with ongoing growth in such areas as interior paints and dry-mix mortars. At WACKER SILICONES, the percentage of high-value construction products in the portfolio should continue to increase. Good growth potential is provided by new silicone resins (for wood and insulation impregnation) that are made of silane-modified organic polymer components, by high-performance adhesives and sealants formulated with the same components, and by silicone sealants sold under our own brand.

Growth Rate of Global Construction by Region, 2014 to 2017

Growth Rate of Global Construction by Region, 2014 to 2017 (bar chart)Growth Rate of Global Construction by Region, 2014 to 2017 (bar chart)

Source: B+L Marktdaten GmbH

Electrical and Electronics Industries Expect Moderate Growth in 2015

The electrical and electronics industries expect global market volumes to expand by 6 percent. According to estimates by the ZVEI (German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association), this growth will be fueled mainly by Asia, the USA, and emerging-market countries. For Germany’s electrical and electronics sectors, the ZVEI anticipates a price-adjusted 1.5-percent rise in production output during 2015. WACKER sees good growth prospects for specialty silanes in semiconductors and for silicone products in automotive electronics. The trend in the automotive market remains dynamic. Growth is driven not only by potting compounds and heat-dissipating adhesives and sealants for electronic components, but also by encapsulation materials for LED-based vehicle lighting systems. We expect to generate additional growth with products for optical applications (LEDs) and screens (displays), areas in which we have launched various innovation projects.