• Ferro-silicon 70%min EXW India(-20000)  11-29|Samarium Oxide 99.9%min FOB China(285)  11-29|Samarium Oxide 99.9%min EXW China(1800)  11-29|Calcium-silicon 28-55 FOB China(-300)  11-29|Calcium-silicon 28-55 EXW China(-2000)  11-29|Calcium-silicon 30-60 FOB China(-300)  11-29|Calcium-silicon 30-60 EXW China(-2000)  11-29|Silicon Metal 5-5-3 Delivered China(-1500)  11-29|Zinc Conc. 55%min EXW North China(-600)  11-29|Zinc Conc. 50%min EXW South China(-600)  11-29|Chrome Conc. S.A. 40%min CIF China(5)  11-29|Ferro-chrome Cr 60%min, C 0.1%max In warehouse Pittsburgh(0.08)  11-29|Manganese Ore S.A. 36%min In Tianjin Port(-1)  11-29|Manganese Ore S.A. 37%min In Tianjin Port(-1)  11-29
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    End users expect reasonable germanium price fluctuations
    ----Interview with Deng Dan
    Manager
    Asia Division of Photonic Sense GmbH
    Photonic Sense GmbH was founded in 2003 and its main business includes the production of germanium single crystals and the manufacturing of different sizes of optical elements by silicon products purchased from other companies. The maximum diameter of germanium single crystals of the company is 500mm with the diameter of regular germanium single crystal standing at 300mm. In 2006, Jenoptik, the parent company, held 100% shares of Photonic Sense GmbH which passed the "Aita Agreement" of America and were awarded the title of Excellent Supplier by FLIR Systems AB in 2010.

    Asian Metal: Hello, Deng Dan! Thank you very much for accepting the interview of Asian Metal. Firstly, please give us a brief introduction to the main business of your company.

    Photonic Sense GmbH was founded in 2003 and its main business includes the production of germanium single crystals and the manufacturing of different sizes of optical elements by silicon products purchased from other companies. The maximum diameter of germanium single crystals of our company has been 500mm so far with the diameter of regular germanium single crystal standing at 300mm. In 2005, Jenoptik, the parent company, purchased the majority of equities of Photonic Sense GmbH and then wholly owned the company in 2006. In addition, we passed the "Aita Agreement" of America and were awarded the title of Excellent Supplier by FLIR Systems AB in 2010.

    Asian Metal: Thank you for your introduction to your company. Would you like to give us an introduction to yourself?

    I graduated from the University of International Business and Economics with the foreign trade major and the Universität Jena with the media economy major successively. This is the 10th year for me to joint Photonic Sense GmbH from 2007. During the 10 years, I was engaged in the marketing and purchasing business as well as a part of sales business covering investigation & survey, communication, data collection, translation and others. I am the manager of the Asia Division now.

    Asian Metal: What are main application fields of germanium in Europe, the major application market of germanium worldwide? And what about the annual demand?

    Germanium is still mainly used in the infrared optics field in Europe with Photonic Sense GmbH, Umicore in Belgium, PPM in Germany, etc. as major consumers and the demand from several other companies being relatively limited. In addition, germanium has also been used in the automobile field in recent years; for example, Umicore has been using the material in automobile night-vision device, which is also related to the infrared optics field. The consumption of germanium in fields of night-division devices, windows of tanks and thermal infrared imagers in Europe is limited.
    The development of different companies is different every year. As for our company, the annual consumption of germanium metal is decreasing now compared with that of 10 years ago. We purchase several tons of germanium metal per year now with the monthly purchase volume unfixed. Our demand for the material was over 10t ten years ago, but now the purchasing volume is declining. Umicore purchases more germanium metal compared with the purchase volume of us. The annual demand of germanium metal in Europe is expected to be over 10 tons.

    Asian Metal: 2017 is a year for prices of germanium metal to revive. What do you think of the price trend in 2017? What are factors that stimulate prices for the material to go up?

    The topic of prices has always been sensitive. Prices for germanium metal kept stable in the first half of 2017 and began to revive in the second half of the year. Prices for the material have kept at low levels for long time in recent 3 years and the price rebound at present is in the reasonable range in accordance with the law of economic development. Both producers and consumers think that the weak price trend of the material wouldn't last in the long run. The number of Chinese suppliers of germanium metal will reduce in the future and small producers will halt supplying with some producers even probably suffering losses. Affected by the stricter environmental inspection in China, production costs of germanium metal went up in the third quarter, resulting in decreased output and increased prices for the material.

    Asian Metal: Supported by tight supply, prices for Chinese germanium metal have rebounded substantially in the year-end. As a main user for the material, how do you think of the phenomenon?

    To users and downstream customers, the unstable price of germanium metal will influence the formulation of the budget. We make the budget and purchase the material at different time. If prices for raw material go up too rapidly, we will have some difficulties in making quotations to customers, which is the negative influence brought by the substantial price rebound on us. It will be a kind of guarantee for us and other users if prices for the material fluctuate slightly amid the general stability. We don't hope that prices will be manipulated.

    Asian Metal: How do you think of the market outlook of germanium used in the infrared optics field in 2018? Do you expect the demand to rise?

    Objectively speaking, we think that the consumption of germanium would be limited in Europe in the coming one or two years especially in the infrared optic field where the consumption volume can't increase as much as that in China. The Asian market sees large volumes of demand for germanium healthy decorations while the demand in Europe and America is limited.

    Asian Metal: The continuously increased consumption of germanium in germanium tetrachloride, germanium health decorations and other fields will bring some pressure in purchasing germanium used in the infrared optics field. How will you deal with it?

    Our pressure comes from the sudden and substantial price increase or decrease of germanium metal. We won't feel more pressure if prices for the material keep a healthy and stable trend.

    Asian Metal: Would you like to tell us your plan about the business development in the near future?

    In addition to conducting regular business stably, we will continue to advance some research projects with related universities in 2018, which are in the early and medium stage now. We once intended to enter the solar energy field, but it's difficult for us to compete with China which has more advantages in prices.

    Asian Metal: Asian Metal will hold the 11th World Indium & Germanium & Gallium Forum from 22-23 Mar. 2018 in Sanya, Hainan. We sincerely invite your company to attend the forum and share opinions with us.

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