Issue Date: October 29, 2012
Solar Woes Hit Chemicals
The financial woes of the solar power industry are starting to hurt the chemical companies that supply it with raw materials. In announcing third-quarter results last week (see page 7), DuPont said sales in its electronics business fell 28%, primarily because of slumping demand for photovoltaic materials. The company also took a $150 million pretax charge to reflect poor conditions in its thin-film solar module business. Air Products & Chemicals revealed that it is restructuring its solar materials business at a cost of $186 million before taxes. Wacker Chemie announced that it is delaying the start-up of a polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tenn., by 18 months to mid-2015. Evonik Industries and Japan’s Taiyo Nippon Sanso recently decided to end a silane production joint venture in Japan just a year after their plant opened. And Ferro said earlier this month that it may sell its business in conductive pastes for solar panels because of poor demand.
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