SolarWorld sets its sights on expansion

The German manufacturer’s outlook is positive for 2011. Having met its forecasts for last year, the focus is now on capacity, revenue and market expansion.

"We will do everything in our power to reduce our costs and to strengthen our quality brand," states CEO Frank Asbeck. "We will develop new storage technologies for the self-consumption of solar power (…) In 2011, SolarWorld AG will continue its capacity expansion in module production to reach 1,400 (2010: 940) megawatts (MW) so that the group can place larger product volumes in the final customer business."

Overall, the company expects this year’s shipments to grow by around 30 percent. It adds that the U.S. market looks particularly promising: the possibility to more than double its sales there exists due to the "logistical advantages" of local production and existing sales and distribution networks.

Furthermore, it says that within the next two years, the foreign quota is to be further enhanced to 75 percent.

Financial breakdown

?In terms of 2010, the company increased its shipments of wafers and solar power modules by 42 percent to 819 MW (2009: 578 MW). It says that this considerably boosted its revenue, which increased by 28.8 percent or €292.1 million from 2009, to reach €1,304.7 million (2009: €1,012.6 million).

Groupwide, SolarWorld says that earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) grew in fiscal year 2010 by 26.1 percent to reach €192.8 million (2009: €152.8 million). Its EBIT margin amounted to 14.8 percent (2009: 15.1 percent). Meanwhile, consolidated profits went up in 2010 by €28.3 million, or 48.0 percent, to €87.3 million (2009: €59 million).?

Asbeck comments: "The year 2010 was turbulent. Our sales developed vigorously in the international solar markets and, above all in the second half of the year, shifted from our core market, Germany, to other European markets and the United States."

He continues: "Consequently, the foreign sales quota in 2010 increased by 14 percentage points to 59 percent (2009: 45 percent). We aligned ourselves internationally at a very early point in time and can therefore flexibly use developments in individual markets for our purposes by simply shifting sales volumes."