Q-Cells realignment package approved; new COO announced

The realignment package, which will see Q-Cells’ production capacity for solar cells at its German headquarters permanently halved and will include streamlining the organizational structure, has been designed to help the company regain its competitive position.

In today’s announcement, it elaborates on its plans by stating that it aims to expand research and development to cover the "full spectrum", including solar cells, systems and applications, in order to speed up the development of "marketable products with competitive system costs".

Q-Cells adds that it will simplify its sales structures, and focus its sales activity "even more strongly" on international markets.

In terms of the two board changes, ex-Conergy manager Andreas von Zitzewitz has been appointed as a member of the executive board. He has also been announced as the new COO and will head up production, research and development, purchasing, logistics and quality.

In another change, the company’s marketing and sales head, Hans-Gerd Füchtenkort, has left the company. As such, CEO Nedim Cen will take over his responsibilities until a replacement has been found. He previously filled von Zitzewitz’s COO role.

For the full year, Q-Cells expects to generate sales revenues of around €1 billion and an operating loss in the three-digit million euro range. And, while the company expects 2012 to be a difficult financial year, it forecasts a return to an operating profit.

In an industry note issued by Germany’s BHF Bank, however, it was said that even with Q-Cells’ proposed cost-cutting measures, it will "continue to lag its Asian competitors in production costs, leaving the mid-term business outlook very gloomy for the company."