UPDATE 1-Solar woes to hit Wacker Chemie sales and earnings

Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:12am EDT

* Q3 sales 1.2 bln eur vs 1.19 bln in poll

* Q3 EBITDA 204 mln eur vs 201 mln eur in poll

* Says 2012 sales to reach 4.6-4.7 bln eur

* Says 2012 EBITDA to reach about 750 mln eur

* Shares indicated 1.5 percent lower

FRANKFURT, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Wacker Chemie, the world's No.2 maker of polysilicon, said its sales and core earnings would fall significantly this year, burdened by the solar industry's ongoing crisis.

The group said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would fall to 750 million euros ($972 million) this year, which is down from 1.1 billion euros in 2011 and less than analysts had projected.

Sales are expected to reach 4.6-4.7 billion euros, down from 4.9 billion euros last year, it added.

Previously, the company said only that sales would fall below the year-earlier level, while EBITDA was seen significantly below the 2011 level. According to StarMine estimates, 2012 sales are seen at 4.7 billion this year, while EBITDA is expected to reach 812 million euros.

"Sustained price competition, high inventories, the difficult financial situation of many market players and the anti-dumping proceedings against Chinese solar manufacturers currently characterise our polysilicon business," Chief Executive Rudolf Staudigl said.

Wacker's polysilicon unit, which supplies the solar sector, posted a 29 percent fall in third-quarter sales, while the margins for EBITDA fell to 29 percent from 47 percent in the year-earlier period.

In 2011, the unit accounted for about 30 percent of group sales and about two-thirds of EBITDA, with an EBITDA margin of more than 50 percent.

The unit has come under pressure by a trade war in the solar industry, with Western players alleging price dumping in European and U.S. markets, leading the United States to impose steep duties on solar energy imports from China.

Wacker Chemie's main rivals in the production of polysilicon include Hemlock Semiconductor, a joint venture between Dow Corning, Shin-Etsu Handotai and Mitsubishi Materials, as well as Korean OCI Co Ltd and China's GCL-Poly Energy Holdings.