Thanks to the strong performance of its chemical business, Wacker Chemie AG’s sales and EBITDA continued to grow in the second quarter of 2018, both year over year and quarter over quarter. The Munich-based chemical company posted sales of €1,329.9 million in the reporting quarter (Q2 2017: €1,218.3 million). That was an increase of 9 percent. Sales were lifted by better prices, especially for silicone products, by volume growth for chemical products and by positive effects from the chemical-product mix. Exchange-rate headwinds, though, slowed the sales trend, with the euro appreciating strongly year over year. Relative to a quarter ago (€1,217.6 million), the sales increase was also 9 percent.
WACKER generated EBITDA of €260.5 million in Q2 2018. That was 3 percent more than a year ago (€253.4 million) and 2 percent more than a quarter ago (€254.5 million). Growth drivers were better prices for chemical products and higher income from the stake in Siltronic. As a result, WACKER more than compensated for raw-material costs, which increased markedly both year over year and quarter over quarter. High plant utilization was another positive factor in earnings performance in the reporting quarter. The Group’s EBITDA margin for Q2 2018 was 19.6 percent (Q2 2017: 20.8 percent). In the preceding quarter, it was 20.9 percent. Group earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to €125.0 million in Q2 2018 (Q2 2017: €101.9 mil-lion), yielding an EBIT margin of 9.4 percent (Q2 2017: 8.4 percent). Net income for the reporting quarter amounted to €83.5 million (Q2 2017: €60.5 million) and earnings per share came in at €1.59 (Q2 2017: €1.17).
The full-year 2018 forecast for sales and earnings as published in the 2017 Annual Report remains unchanged. WACKER continues to expect that Group sales will grow by a low-single-digit percentage relative to last year (€4,924.2 million). EBITDA is likely to rise by a mid-single-digit percentage compared with last year (€1,014.1 million). WACKER expects Group net income from continuing operations to rise markedly.
“After the first six months of the year, we are firmly on track to achieve our full-year targets,” said Group CEO Rudolf Staudigl in Munich on Thursday. “Our chemical portfolio is currently performing very well and customer demand for silicones, in particular, is very high. In this market environment, we are posting volume growth with specialty products and achieving substantial price increases for standard silicones. The intensifying trade dispute between the USA and both China and the EU poses a significant risk to the global economy. In addition, markedly higher raw-material costs reduce our earnings. On the other hand, our chemical business is performing considerably better than anticipated at the start of the year. The first six months have delivered a good basis for WACKER’s development in the current year. Provided there is no economic downturn, we could outperform our current full-year earnings forecast.”