Annual Report 2022

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Creating tomorrow’s solutions

Sector-Specific Conditions

We supply products to a wide range of industries. Our main customers are in the chemical, construction, electrical, electronics and photovoltaic sectors.

Chemical Industry Growth Slows

Growth in the chemical industry slowed in 2022. High costs on the one hand and declining demand on the other occasionally hampered chemical and pharmaceutical production. Lockdowns in China as part of the country’s policy of tackling coronavirus throttled production from time to time. In Europe, surging energy and raw-material costs in some cases led to production cutbacks. According to the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the chemical industry’s global sales (including pharmaceuticals) totaled €5.8 trillion in 2021, with Asia accounting for almost 60 percent. In recent years, the centers of growth have shifted increasingly toward emerging markets. Investment activities are intensifying in countries with low energy and raw-material costs. This trend continued in 2022. With its strong trade ties and innovative capacity, Europe is able to profit from growth in other regions.

In 2022, Germany’s chemical and pharmaceutical industry had to deal, in particular, with the effects of the energy crisis. Production in what is the country’s third-largest industry decreased by 6 percent – not counting the pharma segment, the decline was as much as 10 percent. Numerous companies curbed production. While enormous pressure from high energy and raw-material prices caused product prices to rise sharply – chemical goods were 22 percent more expensive year over year – costs still rose faster than selling prices. As a result, a survey of VCI member companies conducted at the end of the year revealed some 80 percent had seen their profits decline. According to the VCI, industry sales in 2022 rose by 17.5 percent to €266.5 billion.

Construction Industry Grows Sales

The construction industry, especially in Europe, was marked in 2022 by supply bottlenecks for numerous building products and materials and by rising raw-material prices. Higher prices in particular resulted in sales growth in many cases, while the volumes sold grew less vigorously. According to market research institute B+L Marktdaten GmbH, construction expenditure increased in all markets. The most dynamic regions were South America, the Middle East and Africa, while the European construction industry was more severely affected by the war in Ukraine. Based on preliminary figures, global construction volume increased by 1.3 percent to around US$9.46 trillion (2021: US$9.34 trillion).

Growth Rate in Construction by Region in 2022

Growth Rate in Construction by Region in 2022 (bar chart)
Source: B+L Marktdaten GmbH, Dec. 2022

Electrical and Electronics Industry Posts Increase

According to estimates of the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), the global electrical and electronics market grew by 11 percent in 2022. This sales growth was attributable in part to inflation-induced price rises. Volumes grew by around 9 percent in advanced economies, while the increase was even more pronounced in emerging economies, at 13 percent.

Photovoltaics Pivotal to Global Energy Supply

The global solar industry continued to expand in 2022. Various market studies and our own market surveys show that some 250 gigawatts (GW) were newly installed worldwide (2021: about 170 GW). That was an increase of almost 50 percent year over year. The amount of installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity worldwide reached around 1.2 terawatts (1,200 GW) at year-end 2022. About half of the new capacity in 2022 was added in China, Japan and the USA. Key factors in the global expansion of PV installations were incentives coupled with low system costs. Photovoltaics have become competitive with electricity generated from conventional energy sources. In several solar auctions in sun-rich regions, the trading price for solar power was even less than US$15 per megawatt-hour. Despite the global rise in new installations, conditions in the PV industry remained challenging. In the USA and India, tariffs on imported solar cells and modules are pushing up prices and impeding growth. In China, growth increased year over year despite the difficult underlying conditions. Strong competitive pressure persists throughout the supply chain.

Installation of New PV Capacity in 2022 and 2021




Installation of
new PV capacity (MW)


in 2022

€ million




























Rest of Europe


































Other regions














Sources: Germany’s Federal Network Agency, SolarPower Europe (SPE), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), China National Energy Administration, market studies, and WACKER’s own market surveys.

(Table B.12 unaudited)

Diverse Raw-Material Price Trends

In 2022, raw-material price trends differed, in some cases producing contrary effects. Higher prices for basic products like crude oil, natural gas and coal triggered a sharp increase in the production costs of a whole range of derivatives. In the second half of the year, lower demand for and better availability of raw materials caused prices to fall. On the supply side, the picture was also mixed. Whereas the supply of many raw-material groups improved, technical problems restricted the supply of a number of other raw materials. High energy costs, too, led to raw-material shortages in some areas. On the whole, however, higher raw-material prices generated additional costs for WACKER in 2022 of around €800 million year over year (excluding energy costs).

Prices for ethylene and methanol, two important raw materials for WACKER, moved largely in lockstep with the prices of the basic materials used in their manufacture. The market price of vinyl acetate, a key raw material, remained very high due to the high price of the precursor acetic acid, especially in the first half of the year. This was attributable to big surcharges as a result of production outages in the Western Hemisphere that were caused by technical problems. The supply situation for acetic acid eased in the second half of the year, which in turn led to a decline in the market price of vinyl acetate. Whereas shortages of metallurgical silicon caused the market price of this material to soar at the end of 2021, prices declined again in 2022. However, they did not return to the levels of recent years, instead remaining twice as high. This was down to substantially higher production costs, driven especially by electricity and coal prices. Whereas WACKER was not yet affected by this trend in 2021 due to its existing procurement contracts, the company had to absorb substantially higher costs in 2022.

Market-Price Trends for WACKER’s Key Raw Materials in Europe

Market-Price Trends for WACKER’s Key Raw Materials in Europe (graphic)
Ø Annual average in each case
(Table unaudited)

Surge in Electricity, Natural Gas and CO2 Prices

Across the globe, prices for coal and natural gas reached historic highs in 2022 and were more volatile than ever before. Owing to the Ukraine war and resulting supply shortages in Europe, natural-gas prices reached peaks that were ten times higher than the long-term average. As natural gas is the fuel most often used to set electricity prices, the latter also increased by a corresponding factor. In addition to higher electricity generation costs, a supply shortage caused by reduced nuclear power capacity in France also helped push up electricity prices.

Coal prices rose as well, due to increased demand. Compared with coal and natural gas, crude oil prices rose only slightly, remaining well below US$120 per barrel on a monthly average. The CO2 price at times climbed to over €90 per metric ton, but was on average around €80 per metric ton. The reasons for the rise were stricter regulation and strong demand due to higher emissions from coal and oil-based products.

Gas and electricity prices in Europe declined significantly in Q4 2022 due to moderate gas consumption levels and increased supplies of liquefied gas. At the end of 2022, however, prices were still four times higher than at the start of the Ukraine war. Thanks to its existing supply contracts and price hedges, WACKER was only partially affected by soaring prices. Nonetheless, higher prices meant the company had to absorb a year-over-year increase in energy costs of around €470 million in 2022. Energy costs were thus around twice as high as a year earlier.

Market-Price Trends for Energy Sources Relevant to WACKER

Market-Price Trends for Energy Sources Relevant to WACKER (graphic)
Ø Annual average in each case
(Table unaudited), source: Montel
Substance outputs, noise, vibrations, light, heat or radiation emitted into the environment by an industrial plant.
A colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas that, under normal conditions, is lighter than air. It is needed as a chemical starting product for a great many synthetic materials, including polyethylene and polystyrene. It is used to make products for the household, agricultural, automotive and construction sectors, among others.
After oxygen, silicon is the most common element in the Earth’s crust. In nature, it occurs without exception in the form of compounds, chiefly silicon dioxide and silicates. Silicon is obtained through energy-intensive reaction of quartz sand with carbon and is the most important raw material in the electronics industry.