* Q4 EBITDA 158 mln euros vs I/B/E/S forecast 119 mln
* Says polysilicon demand picked up strongly in Q4
* Wacker Chemie makes 40 pct of sales in Asia
* Shares rise 3.5 pct
(Recasts, adds detail on Chinese market, industry background)
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, Feb 6 Wacker Chemie posted
forecast-beating fourth-quarter results on Thursday, citing
strong demand for the polysilicon it supplies to Asia's booming
Following years of falling government subsidies for solar
power in Europe, the global industry is taking heart from
China's decision to more than quadruple solar generating
capacity to 35 GW by 2015 and Japan's push to find alternatives
to lost nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Wacker Chemie, the world's No.2 maker of polysilicon, a key
ingredient needed to make solar cells, said fourth-quarter
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
(EBITDA) rose 18 percent to 158 million euros ($213.8 million),
beating the 119 million euro Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimate.
Sales reached 1.09 billion euros, also slightly higher than
the 1.08 billion analyst forecast.
"In polysilicon, volumes picked up strongly, even though
prices have not improved noticeably in the fourth quarter,"
Chief Executive Rudolf Staudigl said in a statement.
Following the results, DZ Bank analyst Peter Spengler kept a
"buy" rating on Wacker's shares, which rose 3.5 percent in early
Wacker Chemie generates about 40 percent of its sales in
Asia and its polysilicon business accounts for more than a third
China, which is strongly expanding in renewable energy, was
the main driver for polysilicon demand, Wacker Chemie said,
offsetting a weak solar industry in Europe, where years of
falling government subsidies have driven numerous makers of
solar panels and cells, most notably Q-Cells, Solon
and Conergy, into insolvency.
Polysilicon prices tumbled to about $20 per kg from a 2008
peak of almost $400, squeezing profit margins at Wacker Chemie
as well as rivals Hemlock Semiconductor and Norway's Renewable
Energy Corp, but have been largely stable in recent
Wacker Chemie also competes with Mitsubishi Materials
as well as Korean OCI Co Ltd and China's
GCL-Poly Energy Holdings.
($1 = 0.7390 euros)
(Editing by Victoria Bryan and Tom Pfeiffer)