Executive Board Statement on Business Development and on the Group’s Economic Position
WACKER set new records for sales, earnings and net cash flow in 2021. All of our business divisions contributed to last year’s strong sales growth. Demand remained robust throughout the year in most of our customer sectors. We also achieved substantially higher prices for our products than in 2020, helping us compensate for the strong increase in some raw-material prices.
Sales at all our chemical divisions rose at double-digit rates. Polysilicon activities performed particularly well. WACKER POLYSILICON almost doubled its sales in 2021 versus a year earlier.
EBITDA differed from division to division in 2021, growing strongly year over year at WACKER POLYSILICON and WACKER SILICONES. WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS, too, recorded a slight increase. On the other hand, WACKER POLYMERS’ EBITDA declined somewhat due to markedly higher raw-material costs. Cost savings from the company’s ongoing efficiency program strengthened EBITDA at every division. ROCE improved significantly year over year.
Personnel expenses rose in absolute terms, but decreased as a percentage of sales. Viewed in relation to sales, the cost of goods sold declined. In absolute terms, however, it was significantly higher due to increased raw-material and energy costs. Depreciation and amortization were on par with the previous year and thus considerably lower in relation to sales.
At €3.10 billion, Group equity was up €1,408.6 million year over year, chiefly due to higher net income for the year and to the adjustment in provisions for pensions, which was recognized in other comprehensive income. The equity ratio increased from 24.3 percent to 38.1 percent. The Group’s net financial debt decreased significantly, with WACKER recognizing net financial assets as of the end of 2021. High cash inflows from operating activities were the main reason for this. Net financial assets totaled €-546.5 million as of December 31, 2021. Capital expenditures increased significantly year over year. At €343.8 million, however, they remained below depreciation/amortization. Net cash flow was higher year over year, at €760.8 million.
Despite the ongoing restrictions associated with the pandemic, WACKER’s figures for 2021 were very good. The strong demand for our products and solutions underscores the outstanding growth potential of our business portfolio.