Schott raises its revenues; focuses on cost reduction

During a press conference on the German company’s annual results, held in St. Gallen, Switzerland today, plans to raise the export share of Schott Solar to over 50 percent were outlined.

In its different business units, Schott says it already achieves 75 percent of its sales revenues in foreign markets. The company’s solar arm, which manufactures wafers, cells and panels now hopes to improve its competitiveness through more cost-effective production.

It cites its recently formed joint venture with China-based Haeron Solar Technology Co. Ltd., as a way to achieve this. Under the venture, a new module production plant is scheduled to be launched in Asia this spring, which will double Schott’s module production capacity from 415 megawatts (MW) to 830 MW.

Additionally, the company is ramping up wafer production at its Jena site in Germany. Production will be doubled to 500 MW and up to 100 new employees are expected to be hired.

Udo Ungeheuer, chairman of the management board of Schott AG says thin film expansion, however, is not currently on the cards.

In terms of its financial results, concrete sales amounts were not disclosed for Schott Solar. However, the division forms part of Schott’s Home Appliances, which in total achieved a turnover of €1,662 million in the fiscal year 2009/2010. According to the CEO, the company’s gross profit margin was increased from 27 to 31 percent.

For 2011, Ungeheuer expects that the economic recovery will continue to make modest progress. For the first quarter October 2010 to January 2011, Schott Solar reports an order intake with double-digit growth on the previous year’s results.

Overall, Schott says it plans to invest about €200 million in the current year: approximately, €100 million of this will go to locations in Germany. Ungeheuer added that an initial public offering of the solar division would not be feasible at present. “We will keep the option open. But the current political framework seems not to provide a basis for a public offer,” he explains.