Q-Cells reports strong financial results

The company explains that, for the first time, it produced more than one gigawatt peak (GWp) of solar cells and modules. Compared to the previous year, it says that production increased by 84 percent to 1,014 megawatt peak (MWp), which comprised around 940 MWp of cells and 74 MWp of CIGS thin film modules. Overall, it increased total production capacity to 1.3 GWp during the course of the year.

Q-Cells says it will continue to expand its production capacities in the module business this year, with plans including a dedicated production line at the company’s Thalheim site for the solar module Q.PEAK.

Financial figures

Overall, the company’s sales figure rose from €790.4 million in 2009 to a total of €1.35 billion in 2010, thus representing a 70 percent increase. Just in the fourth quarter, total sales were up 54 percent on the previous year at €387 million, but were slightly down on the third quarter of 2010.

Q-Cells also achieved an operating income (EBIT) totaling €82.3 million. Meanwhile, the result after taxes (from continuing operations) came to a total of €90.9 million in the financial year 2010; and net income, including income from discontinued operations, amounted to €18.9 million.

The company says that it "significantly" reduced its net working capital, particularly in the systems business. It had around €340 million in net working capital at the end of the year – on 30 September 2010, it was still €646 million.

This, it says, is one of the reasons for cash and cash equivalents rising by 22 percent to €474 million in the fourth quarter, and financial liabilities dropping by more than a quarter to approximately €804 million. In the fourth quarter of 2010, Q-Cell says its net debt therefore went down by more than half to €330 million. The net debt to EBITDA ratio fell by 55 percent to 1.8 (end of Q3 2010: 4.0).

Expansion

Q-Cells’ expansion in both its module and systems businesses for medium-sized roof-top systems and small ground-mounted systems was the reason given for its positive progress. According to the company, the new business segments generated a total of €363 million, which accounted for 27 percent of annual sales.

Strong global sales activities were also said to have helped the company. It states that its core markets are France and Italy, but it has also just entered the North American market, meaning that it has secured market access in 15 countries.

The export rate for the fourth quarter of 2010 totaled 67 percent. However, for the full year, it recorded an export rate of just over 50 percent. "As previously announced, we once again achieved positive results in the fourth quarter of 2010, despite significantly higher purchasing prices for wafers and further materials in the solar industry," commented Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE.

"Our figures show that we have made the right strategic decision by adding products and systems with stronger margins to our portfolio. We will continue to consistently implement this strategy, especially as the market is more challenging in 2011."