June 29, 2006 – Wacker says it will spend about 300 million euros (about US $377 million) to boost production of polysilicon at its Burghausen, Germany operations by 45% to 14,500 metric tons/yr over the next three years, effectively tripling current capacity levels. Wacker’s initial expansion plans called for roughly doubling capacity by early 2008 to 10,000 tons/yr.
The main reason for the expansion is to satisfy explosive demand for polysilicon in the solar industry, which the company sees increasing at an annual double-digit rate over the next several years, while demand from the electronics sector continues at a high single-digit rise. First materials from this new expansion will be ready by 4Q08.
The company noted that selection of Burghausen for the expansion plans had hinged on agreements with labor representatives about cost-saving measures and further increases in worktime flexibility. The parties agreed to fix starting salaries for new Burghausen employees at 90% of the standard rate over a five-year period, and expand the flexi-time period from the current one year to three years, to improve production flexibility during periods of order fluctuations.
“Today’s expansion decision is another milestone to deliver on the Group’s long-term strategy for profitable growth,” stated Peter-Alexander Wacker, the group’s president and CEO. “We are already the world’s second-largest polysilicon producer and plan to become market leader.”