MUNICH —Wacker Chemie A.G. said persistently low silicon prices were one of the factors that contributed to a drop in net income over the last year.
The Munich-based chemical company reported net income of $8.14 million in 2013, compared to $156.1 million in 2012.
Although more or less stable from the start of 2013, annual solar-silicon prices were about a third lower on average than in 2012, the company said. Exchange-rate effects and the strong euro also played a role in the net income drop, according to the firm.
Wacker's chemical divisions, though, increased their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by more than 11 percent compared to the previous year, thanks mainly to higher volumes. The company said plant utilization was high, especially for silicones, amid solid demand. As a result, the group's chemical divisions more than compensated for lower prices and negative exchange-rate effects arising from the stronger euro.
Wacker reporter higher sales and earnings in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the comparable year-earlier period. As the company expected, though, full-year sales and earnings were below 2012's results.
According to its preliminary calculations, Wacker generated total sales of $6.1 billion in 2013, a drop of 3 percent compared with $6.29 billion in total sales in 2012. The decline was chiefly prompted by lower prices for polysilicon and semiconductor wafers, the company claimed.
Group sales were down $503 million, or 8 percent in 2013. The chemical divisions, though, balanced the price pressures with higher volumes, keeping total sales steady at the prior-year level.
Based on preliminary figures, EBITDA earnings came in at around $923 million, compared with $1.08 billion in 2012, a drop of nearly 15 percent. Preliminary calculation for earnings before interest and taxes is $155 million for 2013, falling from $363 in 2012.
"The figures for 2013 are in line with our expectations and forecasts," said CEO Rudolf Staudigl. "We are pleased that our final-quarter sales and earnings were better than in 2012.
"In polysilicon, volumes picked up strongly, even though prices have not improved noticeably in the fourth quarter. In chemicals, demand was very healthy despite the usual slowdown during the winter months. Overall, our fourth-quarter performance offers a good basis for starting the new fiscal year."