March 14, 2012 / 11:43 AM / 5 years ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Wacker Chemie warns on profits as silicon prices slump

(Corrects first paragraph to say polysilicon prices are lower than a year ago, but fall is not continuing)

* Says polysilicon prices well below yr-earlier

* Says sees 2012 EBITDA down by at least 10 pct

* Says 2012 net profit to fall faster than EBITDA

* Cuts 2011 dividend to 2.20 eur/shr as net profit slides

* Shares slide 3.2 percent

FRANKFURT, March 14 (Reuters) - Wacker Chemie , the world's No.2 maker of polysilicon, slashed its dividend and provided a gloomy outlook for this year, saying a fall in polysilicon price from a year ago would hurt its earnings.

The German company's polysilicon is a key ingredient in the production of solar cells. But solar companies in Europe and the United States have been hit hard by oversupply, falling prices, low-cost Asian competition and lower government subsidies.

Wacker Chemie said polysilicon prices were significantly lower than a year ago, but the fall was not continuing.

Munich-based Wacker Chemie said it plans to pay shareholders a dividend of 2.20 euros per share for 2011, compared with 3.20 euros a year earlier, after its net profit slumped by 23 percent to 356.1 million euros ($466.8 million).

Core operating profit will likely decline by more than 10 percent this year, with an even bigger decline in net profit, the company said on Wednesday.

"Wacker is currently experiencing sales-volume increases at its polysilicon business. However, prices are well below the 2011 level," it said, adding it expects the economic situation to remain "challenging" until at least mid-year.

Sales will edge up to about 5 billion euros in 2012, from 4.91 billion last year, which is above consensus in Thomson Reuters StarMine of 4.88 billion.

Shares of Wacker Chemie fell 3.2 percent to 69.60 euros by 1113 GMT, making them the biggest decliner on Germany's mid-cap index, which was up 0.5 percent. ($1 = 0.7628 euros) (Reporting by Jens Hack.; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Jane Merriman)

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