AUO announces full operations at Japan solar site will resume soon

The factory, which is located in Fukushima, Japan, has been running at half its nameplate capacity since July.

However, a spokesperson for the company told pv magazine that since the site produces the "more scarce" monocrystalline solar products, its market presence is still "relatively significant", despite the rising Japanese yen and falling solar prices.

Overall, the factory produces polysilicon and single crystal silicon wafers and ingots (P-type and N-type). Its major clients include Sanyo (Japan), SunPower and Isofoton.

Financial performance

Although AUO is not only focused on the solar market, its Q3 financial performance has been poorer than last year. Overall, the company achieved net sales of NTD 98,927 million. While this is marginally up on the previous quarter, which saw NTD 98,050 million, it is a drop on Q2 2010’s figures, at NTD 124,403 million.

Gross profit was hit hard, with the company reporting NTD -9,142 million in Q3 2011, compared to NTD -2,482 million in Q2 2011 and NTD 6,241 million in Q3 2010. Its operating income was additionally in the minus, with figures in Q3 showing NTD -16,818 million in comparison to NTD -9,120 million in Q2 2011 and NTD 232 million in Q3 2010.

AUO’s net income was also negative, with the company reporting a loss of NTD -15,796 million. This is a drop from NTD -10,766 million in Q2 2011 and NTD 227 million in Q3 2010. On a positive note, however, it did achieve an EBITDA margin of around 5.6 percent.

While the company did not show a specific breakdown of its solar business, the spokesperson said that AUO currently plans an overall capital expenditure budget of NTD 40 billion, at most, in 2012. A maximum of 10 percent of this will be designated to solar.

They added, "The main undertaking for AUO’s solar business is to focus on full integration and high efficiency. Technology development is priority, so that material efficiency achieves better potential. Then the module production scale might be expanded accordingly."