Centrosolar expands export business; predicts strong second quarter growth

Overall, the German company’s export business increased by 14 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 to reach €51 million. However, it says its home market performed "distinctly more weakly" than last year, due to feed-in tariff cuts and high solar cell prices. Consequently, year-on-year, its revenues decreased from €85 million.

In terms of EBIT, Centrosolar netted €0.3 million, down from €8.2 million in 2010. Net earnings, on the other hand, amounted to € 0.8 million in comparison to €4.4 million the previous year.

In a statement, it said: "In the comparative period, the announced reduction in financial incentives mid-way through the year had produced a special boom that is atypical for the first half and is not expected this year.

"The market was characterised by starkly contrasting effects in the first quarter: whereas demand in Germany was successfully held in check by the cutbacks to feed-in tariffs made in recent months, in Italy there were excessive feed-in tariffs until the start of March; these meant that cost improvements for wafers and solar cells were not passed on and that the raw material prices for solar silicon instead rose."

Looking forward, Centrosolar confirms its revenue forecast of €420 million to €450 million, and EBIT margin of four to six percent.

It also predicts that the industry will experience a "substantial surge in demand" in the second half of this year due to both solar cell price reductions and strong incentives for rooftop solar systems.

The company goes on to say that it expects to profit from Italy’s new feed-in tariffs. "(…) regulatory benefits apply for roof systems, building integrated systems, systems on refurbished roofs and systems with a high share of European content," continued its statement.