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08.05.2007 – 07:32

Wacker Chemie AG

WACKER´s growth continues in Q1 2007


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Munich (euro adhoc) - May 8, 2007 - Wacker Chemie AG remained on course for growth in Q1 2007. With the positive economic trend set to continue, the Munich-based chemical company has substantially expanded its manufacturing output and sales volumes. Q1 Group sales accordingly rose 18 percent to EUR943.7 million (Q1 2006: EUR798.5 million). Driven by operational strength across all five divisions, WACKER has again seen its year-on-year earnings growth greatly outstrip sales gains. From January to March 2007, the Group generated Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciations and Amortization (EBITDA) of EUR265.5 million (EUR183.6m) - up 45 percent against the prior-year period. This yielded an EBITDA margin of 28.1 percent (23 percent). Semiconductor segment strength was a major factor in this earnings increase. Siltronic improved its year-on-year EBITDA by EUR61.1 million, nearly doubling earnings. WACKER POLYMERS profited from strong construction-industry demand thanks to the recent mild winter. Its EBITDA rose 44 percent against Q1 2006. WACKER POLYSILICON, too, posted a higher EBITDA - up 8 percent, mainly due to higher volumes and prices. Sales of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon grew 35 percent. The Group´s Q1 2007 Earnings before Interest and Tax (EBIT) surged to EUR187.9 million (EUR105.7m), with year-on-year net income for the period climbing 73 percent to EUR114.5 million (EUR66.2m). As a result, Q1 earnings per share are EUR2.30 (EUR1.49). WACKER expects its sales and earnings performance to remain positive during the rest of 2007. Based on current exchange rates, the Group estimates its sales growth in fiscal 2007 to exceed 10 percent, with a higher EBITDA margin than last year.

"Our sales and earnings growth is mainly driven by strong volume gains and a positive pricing environment for many of our key products," CEO Peter-Alexander Wacker said. "Our high capacity utilization reflects continued firmness in customer demand. Capacity expansions resulting from our strategic investment projects are supporting WACKER´s further growth."

With Q1 sales of EUR291.7 million (EUR217.8m) and a 34 percent growth rate, Asia is the largest regional contributor to WACKER Group sales. China has again been particularly dynamic. In the Americas, WACKER logged Q1 sales of EUR176.5 million (EUR173.9m), a gain of 1 percent amid dollar weakness and the generally more hesitant U.S. economy. Europe (excluding Germany) produced consolidated sales of EUR265.8 million (EUR232.5m), a year-on-year rise of 14 percent. Central and Eastern Europe experienced well-above-average growth. WACKER´s Q1 sales in Germany grew 18 percent, climbing from the prior-year figure of EUR152.7 million to EUR180.2 million. In the rest of the world, the Group registered January to March revenues of EUR29.5 million (EUR21.6m) - a year-on-year increase of 37 percent. Mideast sales growth was especially strong.

In Q1 2007, the Group´s net cash flow hit a new record: EUR224.2 million against the prior-year figure of EUR22.7 million. This is a gain of over EUR200 million compared to Q1 2006. The main impulses fueling this strong performance were the success of WACKER´s business operations as well as EUR104.8 million in customer prepayments for future polysilicon deliveries.

From January to March 2007, investments in intangible assets, property, plant, equipment, and financial assets amounted to EUR91.0 million (EUR76.3m). WACKER´s Q1 investment activities focused on several major projects: Production capacity for hyperpure polycrystalline silicon is being boosted at the Group´s Burghausen (Germany) site. Expansion work continues at the silicone production site in Zhangjiagang (China). In Singapore, construction of a new 300 mm wafer fab - a joint venture between Siltronic and its customer Samsung Electronics - has made substantial progress, too. And a new dispersible polymer powder production plant, scheduled to come on stream this year, is currently being built in Burghausen.

On March 31, 2007, WACKER had 14,788 employees worldwide, a slight rise compared to the preceding quarter (Dec. 31, 2006: 14,668).

Business Divisions In Q1 2007, WACKER SILICONES boosted its total sales by 8 percent to EUR348 million (EUR323m). This growth was largely due to volume gains, especially at the new siloxane production facility in Nünchritz (Germany), which went on stream in late 2006. WACKER SILICONES posted a Q1 EBITDA of EUR64.3 million, essentially on par with the prior-year figure of EUR64.8 million. Positive volume effects were offset by the significantly higher cost of raw materials, such as methanol and silicon, and the impact of the weakened U.S. dollar.

Business at WACKER POLYMERS progressed extremely well during the first quarter of 2007. Demand for dispersible polymer powders remained very high, due to the continuing construction-sector upswing and not least because of an unusually mild winter. Altogether, WACKER POLYMERS generated total sales of EUR148.7 million (EUR121.4m) - a 22 percent gain against the prior-year figure. Although higher raw-material costs and exchange-rate effects weighed on business results, this was successfully offset by volume gains and higher prices that took effect since the beginning of 2007. WACKER POLYMERS boosted EBITDA by 44 percent to EUR34.2 million (EUR23.7m).

Q1 sales at WACKER FINE CHEMICALS climbed 4 percent, rising from the prior year´s EUR33.5 million to EUR35.0 million. In the period under review, EBITDA was EUR3.6 million (EUR5.8m) - down 38 percent on the prior-year figure. Dollar weakness, increasing cost pressure by Asian competitors and a less favorable product mix in the organic fine chemicals segment all left their mark. To counter this situation, WACKER FINE CHEMICALS is increasingly focusing its portfolio and accordingly consolidating custom synthesis activities. In contrast, the division´s biotech products continued to perform well.

Business at WACKER POLYSILICON remains very robust, with sales of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon growing 35 percent. The increase was mainly due to higher prices as well as volume gains enabled by productivity improvements and the "Poly 4" polysilicon production plant (commissioned in late 2006 with an annual capacity of 1,000 metric tons). Polysilicon production is running at full capacity. Dampened by low sales of road salt, total divisional sales rose 8 percent to EUR92.2 million (EUR85.5m). WACKER POLYSILICON´s Q1 EBITDA was EUR33.5 million (EUR30.9m) - an 8 percent gain compared with the prior-year figure. Price increases were countered by rising energy costs.

Once again in Q1, Siltronic considerably boosted sales, which totaled EUR377.3 million (EUR286.4m) - up 32 percent against the prior-year period. Siltronic´s Q1 EBITDA shot up 88 percent to EUR130.4 million (EUR69.3m). This yielded an EBITDA margin of 34.6 percent, fueled mainly by productivity gains, an enhanced product mix focused on the 300 mm wafer segment, and especially price effects.

Outlook In view of the global economy´s upbeat perspectives and WACKER´s own appraisal of demand trends, the Group expects sales and earnings performance to remain positive during the rest of 2007. WACKER´s current efforts to expand production capacities are positioning the Group well to meet increasing demand for its products - especially at WACKER SILICONES, WACKER POLYMERS, WACKER POLYSILICON and Siltronic. Based on current exchange rates, the Group expects its full-year sales growth to exceed 10 percent, with a higher EBITDA margin than last year.

Key Group Figures

|EUR million                                 |Q1 2007  |Q1 2006      |%                |
|                                                  |              |                 |change        |
|Sales                                          |943.7      |798.5         |18              |
|EBITDA(1)                                    |265.5      |183.6         |45              |
|EBITDA margin(2)                         |28.1%      |23.0%         |22              |
|EBIT(3)                                        |187.9      |105.7         |78              |
|EBIT margin(2)                            |19.9%      |13.2%         |51              |
|                                                  |              |                 |                 |
|Financial result                         |-5.4        |-11.0         |-51            |
|Income before taxes                    |182.5      |94.7          |93              |
|Net income                                  |114.5      |66.2          |73              |
|                                                  |              |                 |                 |
|Earnings per share in EUR          |2.30        |1,49          |54              |
|                                                  |              |                 |                 |
|Capital expenditures (incl.        |91.0        |76.3          |19              |
|financial assets)                        |              |                 |                 |
|Net cash flow                              |224.2      |22.7          |>100          |
|                                                  |              |                 |                 |
|EUR million                                 | March    | March 31, | Dec. 31,  |
|                                                  |31, 2007 |2006          |2006          |
|Equity                                         |1,699.4  |930.7         |1,585.8      |
|Financial liabilities                 |300.2      |990.6         |409.9         |
|Provisions for pensions              |359.2      |355.3         |354.8         |
|Net financial liabilities          |142.6      |954.1         |367.0         |
|Total assets                                |3,457.8  |3,019.8      |3,258.2      |
|                                                  |              |                 |                 |
|Employees (number at end of        |14,788    |14,520        |14,668        |
|period)                                        |              |                 |                 |
|                                                  |              |                 |                 |

(1) EBITDA is EBIT before depreciation and amortization. (2) Margins are calculated based on sales. (3) EBIT is the result from continuing operations for the period before interest and other financial results, limited partnership interests and income taxes.

This press release contains forward-looking statements based on assumptions and estimates of WACKER´s Executive Board. Although we assume the expectations in these forward-looking statements are realistic, we cannot guarantee they will prove to be correct. The assumptions may harbor risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual figures to differ considerably from the forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such discrepancies include, among other things, changes in the economic and business environment, variations in exchange and interest rates, the introduction of competing products, lack of acceptance for new products or services, and changes in corporate strategy. WACKER does not plan to update the forward-looking statements, nor does it assume the obligation to do so.

end of announcement                                                 euro adhoc 08.05.2007 07:30:41

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Branche: Chemicals
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