Daqo CEO predicts polysilicon price will keep on rising

While some analysts have said the raw material shortage has eased sufficiently of late for its selling price to stabilize, the chief executive of Xinjiang-based producer Daqo made bullish statements about his company’s prospects yesterday, based on an expectation of continuing tight supply of the solar panel component.

Longgen Zhang, CEO of Chinese polysilicon manufacturer Daqo New Energy, made no mention of potential political roadblocks in the U.S. to the supply of Xinjiang-made poly, when he presented his company’s second-quarter reports yesterday, boldly stating: “Market conditions remain strong for the polysilicon sector.”

Daqo expects another 180-220,000 metric tons of poly production lines to appear next year – enough to supply 240-250 GW of solar modules and 200-210 GW of generation capacity, the company said – and anticipates the polysilicon price will keep rising. However, that will not be enough to dent soaring global demand for photovoltaics according to the Daqo chief.

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With commentators having observed a leveling off in the poly price in recent weeks – and Zhang himself stating the figure had been steady at $26-28/kg in July and this month – the Daqo chief executive nevertheless added: “We expect the strong price momentum to continue into the second half of this year.”

He put that prediction down to a failure to dent global demand for PV and to solar panel makers passing on the cost of more expensive polysilicon to their customers. The major solar manufacturers could learn a thing or two from Daqo in that respect, it seems, with a polysilicon production cost rise of two cents per kilogram between the first and second quarters of this year translating into an $8.91 hike in average selling prices over the same period, to $20.81/kg in the April-to-June period.

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That added up to a revenue rise from the $256 million recorded in the first three months of the year to $441 million in the last quarter and net income for Daqo shareholders of $232 million, up from $83 million in the previous period. The year-on-year figures spell out how much the poly price has leaped, with Daqo posting revenue of $134 million in the second quarter of last year, for net income of just $2.4 million.

In terms of production volume, Daqo said its Xinjiang facilities manufactured 21,102 metric tons (MT) of polysilicon in the last quarter, up from 20,185 in Q1, although sales volume dipped over the same period, from 21,471 MT to 21,060.

Daqo recently raised RMB6.45 billion ($994 million) by floating its main business unit on the Chinese A-share market and said trading on Shanghai’s Sci-Tech Innovation Board began on July 22. That windfall will help fund plans to expand annual production capacity to 270,000 MT by 2025, the company said.

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