Wacker Chemie today confirmed reports that it is examining options relating to the ownership structure of Siltronic, its silicon wafers unit that supplies the global microchip industry. The company says it is looking at a number of strategic options. The executive board presented plans to the supervisory board today, which could involve an initial public offering of shares in Siltronic, which is currently a 100% subsidiary of Wacker, or an outright divestment to a strategic investor.
“Reshaping Siltronic’s ownership structure could be beneficial for both Wacker and Siltronic,” says Rudolf Staudigl, CEO of Wacker. The proceeds could be used to reinforce Wacker’s chemical and polysilicon businesses. In addition, the capital intensity of the group would decrease. At the same time, Siltronic could harness additional growth opportunities in the event of an IPO by accessing the capital markets itself.
“A detailed analysis of all the possible courses of action is necessary first to see how far these goals are achievable and which path would then be appropriate,” Staudigl says. A decision will be made after a full, in-depth analysis, Wacker says.
Siltronic, with a 14% share of the global market in 2013, is the third-largest supplier of semiconductor silicon wafers, after Sumco and Sin-Etsu. The company makes 300-millimeter (mm) wafers at Burghausen and Freiberg, Germany; and in Singapore. It has been consolidating smaller-diameter wafers production and now makes 200-mm wafers at Portland, OR; and Singapore. Siltronic, in the fourth quarter of 2014, reported sales of €223 million ($239.7 million), accounting for about 19% of Wacker’s total. The business more than tripled its Ebitda in the quarter, to €38 million. Siltronic’s full-year 2014 sales were €853 million with Ebitda of some €114 million, according to preliminary figures. The business contributed 18% to Wacker’s total sales and 11% to Ebitda.
By Natasha Alperowicz