Blaubeuren, May 10, 2011, centrotherm photovoltaics AG benefited from continued strong demand for photovoltaics in the first quarter of 2011, and remains on its growth path: the globally leading supplier of technology and equipment to the photovoltaics sector achieved 64.2 percent revenue growth in the first three months of this year to reach EUR 189.3 million (prior-year period: EUR 115.3 million). In this context, centrotherm photovoltaics registered a high proportion of its total sales with single equipment items for solar cell manufacturing and from growing demand for turnkey production lines. New orders in the first quarter of 2011 were up by 187.8 percent to EUR 224.3 million (prior-year period: EUR 78.0 million).
Operating profit (EBIT) rose by 79.5 percent to EUR 17.7 million (prior-year period: EUR 9.8 million). The EBIT margin of the provider of key equipment to all important steps of the solar value chain increased to 9.3 percent (prior-year period: 8.5 percent). Consolidated net income grew by 84.9 percent to EUR 12.2 million (prior-year period: EUR 6.6 million).
Earnings per share were up by 87.1 percent to EUR 0.58 (prior-year period: EUR 0.31). The company achieved a 24.5 percent return on capital employed (ROCE), compared with 14.9 percent in the comparable prior-year period. The equity ratio stood at 44.7 percent (December 31, 2010: 49.2 percent). Total assets were reported at EUR 915.0 million (December 31, 2010: EUR 805.6 million).
"We enjoyed a strong first quarter of 2011 compared with the previous year's first quarter, and we are on track to achieve our targets for this year", commented Dr. Thomas Riegler, CFO of centrotherm photovoltaics AG. "We are very well positioned in strategic terms to grow sustainably over the long term. We underpin our competitive strength and technology leadership through constant investments in new technologies and products, as well as through tapping new markets."
Segment trends and order book position
In its Silicon & Wafer segment, centrotherm photovoltaics achieved revenues of EUR 29.3 million with the sale of silicon production technology and systems (prior-year period: EUR 43.3 million). Segment operating earnings (EBIT) were reported at EUR 2.2 million (prior-year period: EUR 7.0 million). The segment order book stood at EUR 259.5 million as of March 31 (December 31, 2010: EUR 277.1 million).
In its Solar Cell & Module segment, the company doubled revenue to EUR 154.9 million (prior-year period: EUR 68.2 million). This segment contributed 81.8 percent to Group revenue as a consequence (prior-year period: 59.2 percent). Segment EBIT improved to EUR 19.3 million (prior-year period: EUR 11.7 million). This represents a 12.4 percent EBIT margin (prior-year period: 17.1 percent). The segment's order book stood at EUR 575.5 million at the end of the first quarter (December 31, 2010: EUR 513.8 million). In its Thin Film segment, centrotherm photovoltaics generated revenue of EUR 5.1 million (previous year: EUR 3.8 million). Investments in process and technology development fed through to an operating result of EUR -3.8 million (previous year: EUR -8.8 million).
This segment reported an order book position of EUR 34.8 million (December 31, 2010: EUR 52.9 million). The Group order book position amounted to a total of EUR 869.8 million as of March 31, 2011 – and consequently 3.1 percent higher than as of the December 31, 2010 reporting date (EUR 843.8 million).
Due to the pleasing trend in new orders, centrotherm photovoltaics anticipates that revenue will continue to grow to between EUR 690 million and EUR 710 million in the 2011 financial year, accompanied by a low, double-digit EBIT margin, as communicated when the 2010 annual report was presented on March 23. "We take an optimistic view of the future because photovoltaics, in combination with other renewable energy sources, makes a key contribution to realizing an exit from the nuclear energy option", commented Robert M. Hartung, CEO and Management Board Chairman of centrotherm photovoltaics AG. "With our technology, solar electricity will become significantly cheaper over the next few years."
Source: centrotherm photovoltaics AG