Conergy records 2012 gains; expects significant 2013 sales increases

Changes to European solar subsidies and the termination of its MEMC wafer supply contract – a "vital and logical step" – impacted Conergy’s earnings. Despite this, the German photovoltaic company says it managed to reduce overall losses.

Indeed, net loss improved sequentially, from €-61.3 million in Q4 2011, to €-40.9 million in Q4 2012; and annually, from €-164.5 million in 2011 to €-99 million. Annual earnings per share, meanwhile, rose from €-1.67 in 2011, to €-0.62.

2012 EBITDA also saw positive development, up from €-36 million in Q4 2011, to €-30.2 million in Q4, and from €-80.3 million in 2011, to €-69 million. Despite this, EBITDA margin fell from -10.6% in 2011, to -14.6% in 2012.

Conergy’s EBIT took the same growth trajectory, increasing from €-45.5 million in Q4 2011, to €34.1 million in Q4 2012; and from €-179 million in 2011, to €-83.8 million in 2012. Annual EBIT margin rose to -17.7%, up from -23.7%.

Declining sales

While overall performance saw slight improvement, declines were also recorded. For instance, in Q4, Conergy shipped 105 MW of product, compared to 104.3 MW in Q4 2011, thus leading to annual shipments of 370 MW, down from 393 MW in 2011. This led to Q4 sales of €121.8 million, down from the €183.2 million in the previous year’s quarter.

Annual sales also fell around 37% from €754.1 million in 2011, to €473.5 million. Of this, sales in Germany dropped by around 14% to €130.2 million. International sales, on the other hand, accounted for €343.3 million, of which 36% were in Greece, and 11% in Italy. The U.S. is the company’s "key growth market." There, sales increased by 37%.

2012 gross profit also declined, from €14.9 million in Q4 2011, to €10.7 million in Q4 2012; and from €127.3 million in 2011, to €68.6 million last year. And, while sequential profit margin grew from 8.1% to 8.8%, the annual figure dropped to 14.5%, down from 16.9%. Both high price pressure and the discontinuation of wafer and cell manufacturing in Frankfurt (Oder) were said to have impacted results.

At €8.2 million, Conergy’s net cash flow turned positive, up from a paltry €41.4 million in 2011. The company’s workforce, however, declined from 1,461 (of which 1,033 were employed in Germany) to 1,144 (of which 781 remained in Germany).

This year, Conergy is looking to expand its international large-scale photovoltaic project business. Business in Asia and the U.S. is expected to grow, and Eastern Europe should open up as a promising new export market. Overall, the company expects to reap sales of between €650 million and €750 million, and a "slightly positive" EBITDA.