Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 16. November 2010, Q-Cells SE (QCE; ISIN DE0005558662) has taken advantage of strong demand and stable pricing in the third quarter to generate sales of € 402 million, up 20% from the second quarter and more than doubled compared to the third quarter 2009 (€ 183 million). The operative result (EBIT) amounted to € 37 million, up 35% from the second quarter and representing a margin increase from 8% in the second quarter to 9% in the third quarter. Nine months sales reached € 967million, EBIT for the first nine months of the year amounted to € 55 million.
Total production volume of solar cells and thin-film solar modules was around 305 megawatt peak (MWp) in the third quarter, an increase of 28% on the second quarter (238 MWp) and 152% compared to the third quarter 2009 (121 MWp); the figure for the first nine months of 2010 amounted to 717 MWp.
Restructuring completed, financing secured
Q-Cells has now managed to successfully complete a comprehensive restructuring programme which had been started in August 2009. Part of the significant improvement in the operative result is due to an improved cost position which Q-Cells achieved through a combination of restructuring measures, the use of the expanded production facilities in Malaysia and the flexibilisation of sourcing contracts leading to favourable conditions.
Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE commented: ”The restructuring measures continue to deliver results. However, tight cost control and management of investments and the liquidity position will stay in the focus going forward.”
On 27 September Q-Cells announced a financing package including a capital increase and issuance of a convertible bond. The resulting net proceeds of around € 242 million have already been used, together with existing cash of € 27 million to buy back the majority of an outstanding convertible bond due for repayment in February 2012. The remaining amount of around € 211 million will be repaid with proceeds from early repayment of the LDK loan and cash inflow from existing projects.
Marion Helmes, CFO of Q-Cells SE said: 'Securing the financing of the convertible bond at such an early stage will give us additional manoeuvring space in challenging market conditions.”
Comprehensive product portfolio and internationalisation
The comprehensive product portfolio launched in June 2010 addresses specific customer needs with different applications. The portfolio ranges from solar cells and modules to complete systems for commercial and industrial as well as utility scale, each contributing to the performance of the company.
The complete ramp-up of the Malaysian production site to a capacity of 600 MWp has been achieved in good time. For the first time production of solar cells in Malaysia was higher than in Germany. Deliveries of crystalline modules amounted to 26 MWp in the third quarter, down from 44 MWp in the second quarter. This was due to quality issues in ramp-up and production at processing partners, which meanwhile have been eliminated.
The commercial and industrial scale systems business started well, one roof-top example for the third quarter being an agrarian project of almost 1 MWp in Northern Germany (Oschersleben). Moreover, a number of projects have been contracted with local partners in Ontario, Canada, resulting in some 110 MWp in 2010/2011. Q-Cells has identified North America as one of the focus markets for its internationalisation. Overall, the North American market is expected to generate 2 GWp in 2011.
Transformation started successfully
The new product portfolio launch, including crystalline solar modules and systems has contributed to a higher and more stable margin profile. It is expected that Q-Cells can significantly widen its footprint in a broader segment of the photovoltaics market with a revamped sales organisation and the evolution to a customer focused company.
'With the restructuring and refinancing completed our main focus now has to be on securing competitiveness, driving the internationalisation of the business, and establishing Q-Cells firmly as a photovoltaics solution provider,” said Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE.
Q-Cells is forecasting total sales of more than € 1.3 billion (previously €1.2 to €1.3 billion) and an EBIT of around € 75 to 80 million for the full year 2010. For 2011 Q-Cells expects a more challenging market environment.