WACKER heads for another record year in 2007
* Q3 GROUP SALES RISE 12 PERCENT YEAR ON YEAR TO €959 MILLION
* EBITDA GROWS 24 PERCENT TO €270 MILLION AND
* EBITDA MARGIN REACHES 28 PERCENT
* EARNINGS PER SHARE OF €2.43
* FULL-YEAR GROUP SALES EXPECTED TO BE 14 PERCENT HIGHER THAN 2006, WITH AN EBITDA MARGIN OF AROUND 26 PERCENT
Wacker Chemie AG is heading for another record year in 2007. In Q3, the Munich-based chemical group again significantly boosted year-on-year sales and earnings. Continued strong demand for many WACKER products, coupled with markedly higher production quantities, are the main drivers behind Q3’s strong performance. Volume gains and increased prices for some key product groups more than offset higher raw-material costs and negative currency effects from the strong euro. Group sales rose 12 percent in Q3 to €958.5 million (Q3 2006: €857.3m).
WACKER’s earnings once again grew more strongly than sales, primarily thanks to substantial volume gains and higher prices achieved in some market segments. From July to September 2007, the Group generated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of €269.9 million (Q3 2006: €217.9 m), up 24 percent compared to the prior-year period. The EBITDA margin rose to 28.2 percent (Q3 2006: 25.4 percent). WACKER POLYSILICON posted the Group’s strongest earnings growth in Q3 2007. The division’s EBITDA exceeded the prior-year figure by 53 percent. Siltronic and WACKER SILICONES also improved their EBITDA by 17 percent and 8 percent, respectively. WACKER POLYMERS and WACKER FINE CHEMICALS, however, only marginally improved their year-on-year figures. The Group’s third-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 34 percent to €186.8 million (Q3 2006: €139.5m), with net income climbing to €120.6 million (Q3 2006: €95.1m). Earnings per share in Q3 amounted to €2.43 (Q3 2006: €1.91). The Munich-based chemical group confirmed its positive full-year 2007 sales and earnings forecast with further precision: WACKER now expects year-on-year sales growth of 14 percent and an EBITDA margin of some 26 percent in 2007.
“Our third-quarter financial results underpin the Group’s operational strength once again,” says CEO Peter-Alexander Wacker. “The additional volumes created by our strategic growth projects are starting to incrementally influence sales and earnings. Our nine-month figures are paving the way for new sales and earnings benchmarks in 2007.”
With sales of €318.2 million (Q3 2006: €252.7m), Asia continued to account for the largest share of total Group revenues in Q3 2007. Compared to the prior-year quarter, sales to customers in this region rose nearly 26 percent – with Siltronic particularly profiting from the dynamic demand trends seen in Asian economies. In European countries excluding Germany, Group sales grew 6 percent to €255.2 million (Q3 2006: €240.7m). Business also went well in Germany. There, sales rose 12 percent to €193.8 million (Q3 2006: €173.3m).
In the Americas, Group sales for Q3 2007 were steady year on year at €162.6 million (Q3 2006: €163.5m). The significantly weaker dollar – compared to the prior-year period – had a particularly strong impact here. In Other Regions, the Group boosted sales by 6 percent to €28.7 million (Q3 2006: €27.1m).
WACKER Group’s net cash flow rose 91 percent in Q3 to €257.0 million (Q3 2006: €134.8m). In addition to robust overall business, a primary factor for this rise was customer prepayments for future polysilicon shipments. These prepayments contributed €102.5 million (Q3 2006: €35.7m) to the quarter’s net cash flow.
From July to September 2007, investments in intangible assets, property, plant, equipment, and financial assets amounted to €144.5 million (Q3 2006: €108.1m), a year-on-year increase of 34 percent. In Q3 2007, investments remained focused on ongoing strategic divisional growth projects. WACKER SILICONES is building a joint production complex for siloxanes and pyrogenic silica with Dow Corning at its Zhangjiagang site in China and is expanding its downstream silicone facilities there. WACKER POLYMERS is extending its dispersible polymer powder production facilities in Germany and building a new integrated site for dispersions and dispersible polymer powders in Nanjing, China. WACKER POLYSILICON is boosting polysilicon production capacity at Burghausen by over 22,000 metric tons per year. And Siltronic is increasing 300 mm wafer capacity at Burghausen and constructing a new 300 mm wafer factory in Singapore together with Samsung Electronics.
WACKER had 14,969 employees on September 30, 2007 (June 30, 2007: 14,892). Compared to the end of Q2, the number of Group employees rose by around 1 percent. This increase was primarily due to ongoing expansion projects in Germany and Asia. On September 30, 2007, the Group’s German sites had 11,559 employees (June 30, 2007: 11,513 employees) and international sites accounted for 3,410 employees (June 30, 2007: 3,379 employees).
In Q3 2007, WACKER SILICONES boosted its total sales by 6 percent to €341.1 million (Q3 2006: €321.2m), thanks primarily to further sales volume gains and partially to price increases. Negative currency shifts, however, impacted sales growth. WACKER SILICONES boosted EBITDA to €68.3 million – beating the prior-year figure (€63.2m) by 8 percent.
WACKER POLYMERS’ total Q3 sales rose 9 percent to €166.5 million (Q3 2006: €152.8m). Continued strong construction-sector demand led to record-setting dispersible-polymer-powder sales for the division in that quarter. The Burghausen site’s new spray dryer, completed and successfully ramped up in Q3, also contributed to the good results. All production sites ran at full capacity. However, the division’s functional polymers business was more subdued. On the earnings side, WACKER POLYMERS increased year-on-year EBITDA by 4 percent to €32.2 million (Q3 2006: €31.0m). Earnings growth did not quite match sales gains, primarily due to much higher raw-material costs and negative currency shifts.
WACKER FINE CHEMICALS posted sales of €24.3 million in Q3 2007 (Q3 2006: €26.3m), around 8 percent below the prior-year period. Consolidation of business activities for custom synthesis products and catalog chemicals resulted in declining sales for this product segment. In contrast, the division profited from strong demand for biotech products, particularly cyclodextrins and cysteine. Moreover, Q3 saw the acquisition of new customer projects for bioengineered pharma proteins. From July to September 2007, WACKER FINE CHEMICALS generated an EBITDA of €0.8 million (Q3 2006: €-0.2m).
WACKER POLYSILICON generated record sales in Q3 2007. Total revenues soared 57 percent to €126.0 million (Q3 2006: €80.4m) compared to the prior-year period. This growth was principally due to higher polysilicon prices and volumes. The “Poly 6” expansion stage was successfully completed in Q3, ahead of schedule. Surplus volumes from this expansion stage were sold via short-term agreements. WACKER POLYSILICON’s Q3 EBITDA rose 53 percent to €49.4 million (Q3 2006: €32.2m).
Siltronic posted sales of €360.2 million in Q3 2007, beating the prior-year figure (€330.7m) by 9 percent. Growth was primarily fueled by higher production volumes. Compared to Q2 2007, sales declined slightly – in large part due to a scheduled production pause (“warm down”) at Burghausen’s 300 mm wafer production line. This measure enables Siltronic to boost the site’s existing 300 mm capacity by 60,000 wafers per month. Siltronic was able to partially offset the planned 300 mm sales decline, for instance due to higher silicon ingot sales to the solar industry. Siltronic’s year-on-year EBITDA grew 17 percent to €115.0 million (Q3 2006: €98.2m). Product-mix adjustments in favor of 300 mm wafers, sales to the solar industry and efficiency enhancements had a positive impact on results despite significantly negative exchange-rate effects.
The first three quarters of 2007 proved successful for WACKER. As a result of this positive business development, the Group expects to post new full-year sales and earnings records. Based on today’s figures, WACKER confirms its positive full-year forecast with further precision. The Group now expects year-on-year sales growth of 14 percent to nearly €3.8 billion (2006: €3.34b). The previous guidance specified sales growth of over 10 percent. The full-year EBITDA margin is expected to come in at around 26 percent (2006: 23.6 percent).
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