Centrotherm sees Q1 orders soar; solar situation still tense

04. May 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Stuart

Germany’s centrotherm photovoltaics AG has recorded €255.4 million of new orders in the first quarter (Q1) of 2012. Despite this success, the company recognizes the still tense solar situation, which was reflected in its Q1 earnings results.

centrotherm HQ building

Despite a significant operating loss, centrotherm believes there is medium- to long-term photovoltaic potential.

Of the €255.4 million of new orders, centrotherm says the lion’s share, €227.1 million, is comprised of the order placed by Sonelgaz to construct a fully integrated solar module factory in Algeria. Overall, it says its order book position at the end of March amounted to €508.2 million, compared to €423 million in Q4 2011.

In terms of revenues, the group generated just €82.5 million, compared to €189.3 million in Q1 2011. Of this, its silicon and wafer segment recorded revenues of €37.2 million, up from €29.3 million in Q1 2011. Its solar cell and module segment, meanwhile, generated revenues totaling €37.2 million, and its thin film segment grew from €5.1 million in Q1 2011, to €8.1 million in Q1 2012.

On the down side, centrotherm recorded an operating loss at the EBIT level of €42.9 million, compared to a profit of €17.7 million in Q1 2011. Of this, its solar cell and module segment recorded a loss of €32.2 million, and its thin film segment, a loss of €10.5 million.

CFO, Thomas Riegler, believes that no significant improvement in the solar market situation will be seen in the first half of 2012. "The sector is experiencing its most severe crisis to date, and consolidation is fully underway," he stated. "For this reason, we are pushing full steam ahead with the implementation of our ct focus restructuring program, which comprises extensive measures to secure earnings and liquidity."

He added, "We nevertheless also regard continued cost pressure in the photovoltaic industry as an opportunity because our customers are focusing on highly efficient technologies and production systems that deliver competitive advantages. We also identify medium- to long-term potentials from photovoltaics due to global energy demand growth and the energy revolution that has already started."

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