Aleo solar posts €77 million loss

Losses continue to be recorded by photovoltaic manufactures, with Germany’s aleo the latest to post negative earnings for 2012. The figures released today were slightly worse than previously announced, with margins dropping from -6.6% in 2011, to -27.5% in 2012. Earnings per share also dropped from €-2.47 in 2011, to €-6.48 last year.

"An extremely difficult industry environment," was blamed by aleo for the losses. aleo reported falling demand in its core European markets and continuing module price erosion.

Responding to these conditions, aleo undertook restructuring in 2012. Its "avim solar" JV, to establish production in China, was dissolved and a Spanish fab closed. These generated one-off expenses, the company reported.

"We had to close two plants in order to produce more efficiently," said York zu Putlitz, CEO of aleo solar AG. "Now we are concentrating module production on our Prenzlau (Germany) plant."

aleo’s key markets are Germany, Italy, France and Greece, and FIT changes in some of these markets have been blamed for falling revenues in 2012. It expects more of the same in 2013 along with continuing downward module price pressure. The company expects to record, "a substantial net loss" in 2013 also.

On a positive note, aleo said that it expected to record increased demand from the U.S. in 2013.

Less than a week ago, aleo’s major shareholder, Bosch announced that it will sell its 90.7% stake in aleo. The move is a part of Bosch’s exit from the c-Si photovoltaic manufacturing sector. aleo has perviously sold its stake in the Bosch Solar CIS Tech thin film venture to Bosch. Bosch has committed to fund aleo for a further 12 months.

aleo’s CEO York zu Putlitz claimed in today’s statement that the company has strengths that are valuable. “We enhanced our productivity with the help of the Bosch Group’s expertise in manufacturing. We will continue to offer quality modules made in Germany through our own sales network.”