Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 11. Mai 2010 - Q-Cells SE with its figures for the first quarter 2010, published today, was able to demonstrate continued successes of the restructuring programme, especially in terms of the operative result. In spite of closing of the older production lines at the Thalheim site by end of last year, the overall production volume at 174 megawatt peak (MWp) was above the value of the fourth quarter 2009 (161 MWp), and also higher than the production volume of the previous year quarter (154 MWp). Apart from increasing the production at the Malaysian site, the production of thin-film modules with 8.8 MWp was more than doubled, compared with the previous quarter.
Sales in the amount of EUR 232.3 million were slightly above the value of the previous year's quarter (EUR 224.6 million), but below those of the fourth quarter 2009 (EUR 251.3 million). This expected development is related to the new crystalline module business, which will start during the second quarter 2010. These modules need to initially be produced from solar cells; correspondingly part of the cell production of the first quarter was not available for external deliveries. In the first quarter 2010, the gearing-up of the module business is reflected in an inventory increase of EUR 57.4 million. The aggregate total output thus amounted to EUR 289.7 million (Q4 2009: EUR 175.9 million).
For the first time since the first quarter 2009, Q-Cells SE was again able to show a positive result before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) with the amount of EUR 18.8 million. The operative result (EBIT) was EUR -9.3 million and thus clearly above the values of the previous quarters (Q3 2009: EUR -163.8, Q4 2009: EUR -274.5 million). Adjusted by ramp-up costs of the productions in Malaysia and of Solibro, this resulted in a figure of EUR -1.0 million for the first quarter 2010. Due to the higher wafer sourcing prices of the previous year, which still had an effect during the first quarter 2010 in view of existing inventories, this still contains a negative effect of approx. EUR 8 million.
The result before tax from continuing operations was EUR 4.1 million, while the net result amounted to EUR -9.6 million. Including the results from discontinued operations (EUR -36.8 million as a result of impairments on Calyxo and VHF Technologies/Flexcell and their negative earnings contribution), the net result of the period was EUR -46.4 million.
Experienced management team for the success of the new strategy
At top management level, two new highly experienced managers will in future make a major contribution to successfully implementing the transformation of Q-Cells SE and to further develop the company. Marion Helmes (44) - as previously announced - will take over the position as Chief Financial Officer with effect of 1 July 2010. Hans-Gerd Füchtenkort (60) on 10 May 2010, was appointed by the Supervisory Board as the new Chief Sales Officer, taking effect on 25 May 2010. At the same time, the Supervisory Board and Marko Schulz, as a member of the Executive Board responsible for Marketing and Sales, agreed that he will be relieved of his responsibilities as member of the Executive Board of Q-Cells SE with immediate effect, since there are varying opinions on the implementation of the strategic transformation. The contract was terminated prematurely by mutual agreement of the parties.
"With the changes at Executive Board level, we have engaged experienced experts for Q-Cells who will successfully accelerate the company's strategic transformation," commented Marcel Brenninkmeijer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Q-Cells SE, with respect to the imminent change within the Board. "Dr Marion Helmes is the ideal appointment for Q-Cells' financial department. With her extensive experience as a CFO of various corporations in the ThyssenKrupp group and her proven management qualities, she has the best qualifications of further developing Q-Cells in these challenging times as Chief Financial Officer. Hans-Gerd Füchtenkort, due to his many years of international management experience and excellent sales expertise, will make a considerable contribution to the quick transformation of Q-Cells, and above all advance the module introduction and development of new markets," said Marcel Brenninkmeijer in welcoming the new team members and thanked the retiring board member: "I would like to thank Dr Marko Schulz for his contribution to Q-Cells. Through the successful development of the project business, he made a considerable contribution to developing Q-Cells from a pure solar cell producer to a comprehensive photovoltaic corporation."
Hans-Gerd Füchtenkort will take over the positon of Chief Sales Officer (CSO) from Marko Schulz. Since April 2009, as member of the Executive Board, Marko Schulz has managed the marketing and sales segment and in addition since 2007, has also been the chairman of the Managing Board of Q-Cells International GmbH (QCI). Hans-Gerd Füchtenkort, who last was chairman of the Managing Board of CG Cordes & Graefe 1921 GmbH, has extensive experience in marketing and international expertise through his work with Grohe, Stanley Works, ACNielsen Corporation, Klaus J. Jacobs and Mars. The marketing and sales position within the Board was reappointed in order to successfully advance the company's transformation, which had become necessary for reasons of basic reorganization and expansion of marketing activities.
On 15 May 2010, Till Utermöhlen (49) will take over as managing director of the project development company QCI. Previously, the graduated engineer had a leading position among other things with Lockwood Greene International, Wayss & Freytag and with URS Group Inc., where he managed numerous projects in building construction and civil engineering, as well as renewable energies at home and abroad. His expertise in project management will further strengthen future projects and QCI's market presence.
Marion Helmes will take over the position of CFO from Nedim Cen, who is acting as interim, and since March 2010, also has been CEO of Q-Cells SE. She is currently a member of the Executive Board of ThyssenKrupp Elevator AG, and as CFO is responsible for the segments controlling, accounting, finance, corporate development, as well as mergers and acquisitions. During the previous business year, the ThyssenKrupp Elevator division with just under 43,000 employees realised sales of some EUR 5.3 billion.
These new experts will contribute to advancing the current restructuring and strategic realignment of Q-Cells in order to increase sales and improve the operative result.
Innovative product portfolio for new markets
A core element of the company's strategic transformation is the production and market introduction of crystalline solar modules in addition to Solibro's thin-film modules. Both will in future be distributed under a strong common brand. Q-Cells addresses wholesalers and large installers who will be able to order photovoltaic modules directly from Q-Cells. In early June, the new portfolio will be presented at the Intersolar Trade Fair in Munich for the first time. The existing customer contacts with module producers will remain unaffected, since an expansion of production capacities and the expected market growth of over 30% worldwide will open additional sales opportunities. The corresponding organisation of sales and marketing was restructured correspondingly in recent months. Apart from solar cells and thin-film modules, the future product range will comprise crystalline modules. Moreover, the system business of large-scale solar systems will be complemented by medium-size photovoltaic systems for commercial and industrial users.
"With the new product portfolio we offer suitable products for all market segments and enable global marketing through various channels. We thus will be able to reach lucrative sections of the value chain, which, in combination with the further improvement of our cost situation, will clearly strengthen the performance of Q-Cells”, said Nedim Cen, CEO and CFO of Q-Cells SE. "The figures for the first quarter 2010 show that we have chosen the right way with our restructuring and transformation. We will consistently pursue our policies in this direction.”
Source: Q-Cells SE