centrotherm production capacities tripled

centrotherm explained that on average up to 60 systems per month left its production halls, which marks a three-fold increase in volume levels compared with the prior-year period. It also represents a new record in the company’s history. Consequently, new order intake hit €707.7 million. However, in comparison to the first nine months of 2009, the company’s order book only amounted to €747.7 million, as opposed to €922.4 million.

According to Robert M. Hartung, CEO of centrotherm photovoltaics, two factors, in particular, resulted in this strong order flow: "Asian customers are expanding along the photovoltaic value chain, and in doing so are focusing their investments on high-efficiency technology, in order to realize economies of scale and declining manufacturing costs.

"We are registering strong demand for single equipment items, and, at the same time, a resumption of demand in the turnkey business. This is reflected in high sales generated abroad."

centrotherm added that export ratio was at a “record-breaking” 95.3 percent during the first nine months of the year (prior-year period: 91.6 percent). In the company’s foreign business, the Asian market was said to dominate with revenue of €385 million, representing an 84 percent share of total group revenue.

The company continued by saying that it invested a total of €30.3 million in research and development in the first nine months of the year, in comparison to €19.4 million in the same time period last year. The number of employees was also reportedly up by 24.6 percent to 1,409 staff members (prior-year period: 1,131 staff members).

Furthermore, it says revenue has risen by 22.3 percent to reach €458.4 million, in comparison to the €374.7 million seen in the first nine months of 2009. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), on the other hand, improved by 52.7 percent to €54.2 million (prior-year period: €35.5 million).

As a result, the company’s EBIT margin increased to 11.8 percent, as opposed to 9.5 percent in the previous year. Consolidated net income also reported a marked increase of 49.5 percent to reach €37.4 million, up from €25.0 million.

In terms of the company’s specific business segments, silicon and wafer revenue was up by 11 percent to €151.3 million (prior-year period: €136.3 million), and operating profit (EBIT) improved to €18.9 million (prior-year period: €12.8 million).

Solar cell and modules continued to make a “significant” contribution having achieved the highest order intake in the company’s history in the third quarter of 2010, at €311.1 million. A new record result was also reportedly achieved in terms of revenue, which grew by more than one half (55.1 percent) to reach €295.2 million in the first nine months of this year (prior-year period: €90.4 million).

Bucking the positive trend, thin film module revenue again reaped negative results. Although the sum was better than the prior year’s period, dropping to €11.9 million as opposed to €48 million, the segment result (EBIT) amounted to €-24.7 million (prior-year period: €-1.1 million), “which was mainly burdened by costs for the further technical development of equipment”.

Dr. Thomas Riegler, CFO of centrotherm photovoltaics AG commented: "Over the past nine months, we have benefited from an outright order boom, particularly in the solar cell and module segment, and we have further expanded our market share."? ?

In terms of the revenue forecast for the full year, centrotherm says it confirms its previous estimates. "Due to the gratifying new order trend, we are confirming our forecasts of €580 million to €600 million of revenue for the full year, which we raised when we announced our half-year figures,” stated CEO Robert M. Hartung. "We are also anticipating an EBIT margin of around 11 percent for 2010."