MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR) has been a hot property lately – a week or two ago they were even yelling about it on CNBC. What put this bland little company on the hot seat this summer?
One word: polysilicon.
Polysilicon is what semiconductors are made out of, eventually. You see, MEMC is a supplier to the semiconductor industry, they make the actual highly polished, ultrathin wafers of precisely tuned silicon that Intel and the gang use to punch out the little tiny doohickeys that power and control our computers, phones, cars, and smart toasters.
Still awake? Well, it turns out that polysilicon has had a wild ride as a commodity during the past six months or so. At one point this Spring, spot prices jumped 25% in just a few days. And this isn’t one of those “China commodity