Wacker on Refugees, Power and Innovation

Lights, chemicals, action!
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Like other companies that use a lot of electricity, Wacker is faced with uncertain power costs because of changes in energy policies. At its new facility in Tennessee, however, it was able to negotiate fixed power costs for over a decade.

  • Facts


    • Wacker’s biggest factory is in Burghausen, near the Austrian border in southeastern Bavaria.
    • Its U.S. headquarters is in Adrian, Michigan, south of Detroit.
    • Wacker is spending $2 billion to build a solar-grade polysilicon factory near Chattanooga in southeastern Tennessee.
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For more than 100 years, Wacker Chemie has produced specialty chemicals used in the construction, textile, auto and solar industries. The Munich-based firm is more than 50 percent owned by the Wacker family and has production facilities in Europe, Asia and the United States. Its U.S. headquarters are in Adrian, Michigan, just south of Detroit.

Rudolf Staudigl, who has headed the company since 2008, met with Handelsblatt in his office in eastern Munich. The Wacker chief executive is one of few German managers who doesn’t shy away from discussing political issues and takes clear positions – and the refugee question is no exception.

Handelsblatt: Your biggest production location is Burghausen, near the Austrian border, where thousands of refugees cross the border into Germany every day. How does it make you feel?

Mr. Staudigl: Yes, we are close to it. We even had some refugees enter our factory grounds. They thought they were climbing over a border fence into Germany. Our security people looked after them and then handed them over to the authorities.

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