Executive Board Statement on Business Development and on the Group’s Economic Position
In 2022, WACKER again set new records for sales and earnings. All of our business divisions contributed to last year’s strong sales growth, which was due to substantially higher prices for our products. These higher prices enabled us to more than offset the sharp increases in energy, raw-material and logistics costs. Demand was stable in many of our customer sectors, but weakened in the chemical divisions in the second half of the year. Overall, our chemical divisions posted double-digit growth rates for sales. WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS surpassed €300 million in annual sales for the first time. Polysilicon sales were particularly strong, rising by 50 around percent.
EBITDA developed well at all divisions, with the exception of WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS. EBITDA grew strongly year over year at WACKER POLYSILICON and WACKER SILICONES. WACKER POLYMERS, too, posted substantially higher earnings. On the other hand, EBITDA was lower year over year at WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS. This decline was due to integration costs at one of the division’s production sites, upfront costs for the new mRNA Competence Center and the temporary outage of a production facility. WACKER’s ROCE improved significantly year over year as well.
Personnel expenses rose in absolute terms, but decreased as a percentage of sales. The cost of goods sold rose sharply in absolute terms and slightly in relation to sales, mainly due to higher raw-material and energy costs. Depreciation and amortization were on par with the previous year and considerably lower in relation to sales.
At €5.03 billion, Group equity was substantially higher 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 38.1 percent to 53.5 percent. WACKER was again able to post net financial assets, which totaled €409.2 million as of December 31, 2022. Capital expenditures increased significantly year over year and, at €546.8 million, were higher than depreciation/amortization. Net cash flow, at €438.8 million, was still firmly in positive territory, but less than the high figure of the previous year.
Even though the economic environment remains demanding in 2023, WACKER’s business prospects continue to be positive in the medium-to-long term.