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SMT & Inspection | February 26, 2009

Wacker to set up new polysilicon production facility in the US

Germany based Wacker Chemie AG has mid-term plans to construct a new hyperpure polycrystalline silicon facility in the US and has purchased land in the State of Tennessee for this purpose. The Munich-based chemical group announced the decision today.
The land in Bradley County covers approximately 550 acres (220 hectares), offering adequate space for a new integrated silicon-based manufacturing site. The purchase price totals almost $20 million. WACKER expects a mid-term investment in the Cleveland, Tennessee area of around $1 billion to set up the new plant, thereby creating about 500 new jobs. The size of the site, the availability of reliable power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), over-the-fence supply of chlorine from the adjacent OLIN Corporation facility and excellent transportation infrastructure made this an attractive site location.

“We expect polysilicon demand from the solar and semiconductor industries to further increase in coming years,” explained Rudolf Staudigl, President and CEO of Wacker Chemie AG. “Purchasing the land is an essential prerequisite to quickly build up additional production capacities outside the euro zone in line with the projected market trends and growth in demand.”

According to Staudigl, this site was chosen not only for its well developed infrastructure but also due to the outstanding support and cooperation made available by the Bradley County government offices, Bradley-Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and local businesses and the State of Tennessee. The package of incentives connected with the land purchase includes provisions for necessary transportation access and a reliable source for water and electric-based energy which are key resources associated with the production of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon. In addition, electrical energy costs in Tennessee are uniquely affordable, only about half the rated experienced at comparable sites in Germany. “Government officials at all levels, agencies and business associates from the State of Tennessee and Bradley County were extremely attentive to our business requirements, cooperative, and made every endeavor to support our plans,” continued Staudigl.

“This announcement further enhances Tennessee’s growing reputation as an innovation center in the development and manufacture of clean energy technologies,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “I appreciate WACKER’s investment in Tennessee and its recognition of the productivity of Tennessee workers, and I’m very pleased the company believes Tennessee is the best place to enhance its position in a growing economic sector.”

“In Tennessee, we believe renewable energy has the potential to transform our state's economy” said ECD Commissioner Matt Kisber. “Announcements in this sector have resulted in more than $2.5 billion dollars in new capital investment and over a thousand new jobs in the past year and we truly believe Tennessee is well-positioned for the growth of a sustainable economy in the U.S.”

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