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Great year for Wacker

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Wacker Chemie AG substantially increased its sales and EBITDA in the third quarter of 2017, both year over year and quarter over quarter.

The Munich-based chemical company posted sales of €1,311.6 million in the reporting quarter (Q3 2016: €1,150.8 million). That was 14 percent more than a year ago and 8 percent higher than in Q2 2017 (€1,218.3 million). The main reason for the increase versus Q3 2016 was the fact that overall volumes for silicones, polymer products and polysilicon were markedly higher year over year. As a result, WACKER more than compensated for negative exchange-rate effects from a stronger euro and for prices that were somewhat lower on balance.

WACKER generated EBITDA of €298.0 million in Q3 2017. That was 13 percent higher than last year (€264.0 million) and 18 percent more than a quarter ago (€253.4 million). The increase was prompted mainly by volume-driven sales growth and by income from the equity investment in Siltronic.

As a result, WACKER more than compensated for the year-over-year rise in raw-material prices. High plant utilization also strengthened EBITDA in the reporting quarter. The Group's EBITDA margin from July through September 2017 was 22.7 percent (Q3 2016: 22.9 percent). A quarter ago, it was 20.8 percent. Group earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to €155.3 million in Q3 2017 (Q3 2016: €108.1 million). That was a year-over-year increase of 44 percent and yielded an EBIT margin of 11.8 percent (Q3 2016: 9.4 percent). Net income for the reporting quarter amounted to €104.2 million (Q3 2016: €67.5 million) and earnings per share came in at €2.04 (Q3 2016: €1.29).

WACKER has raised its earnings forecast for full-year 2017. EBITDA is now expected to be at €1 billion, exceeding last year's adjusted figure of €955.5 million. Previously, WACKER anticipated that EBITDA would be between €900 million and €935 million. The reasons for the upgrade are the Group's strong business performance as well as the income from its stake in Siltronic AG. Group sales are expected, as before, to rise by a mid-single-digit percentage compared with last year's €4,634.2 million.

"At WACKER, the third quarter was the most successful so far this year," said Group CEO Rudolf Staudigl in Munich on Thursday. "Demand for silicones and polysilicon was especially strong, with the two divisions posting new volume records. Our robust performance more than compensated for the headwinds from markedly higher raw-material prices and a stronger euro. Given the continued strength of business, we are upgrading our forecast. This means our 2017 earnings will be higher than last year."

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