SolarWorld offers rosy medium-term view … maybe

SolarWorld unveiled its medium-term plan on Wednesday, outlining 2014 business goals and addressing ongoing restructuring measures the company hopes will result in a €10 million EBITDA figure (and an operating loss of between €35 million and €20 million) this year.

SolarWorld said it was planning to increase the share of sales of complete solar systems both in the private household segment as well as in the international project business this year. The company added, however, that the successful implementation of measures to restructure its financial liabilities and balance sheet was necessary to meet its goals.

If the measures are successfully implemented, SolarWorld said it planned to increase shipments of modules and kits in in all sales markets this year by at least 40 percent compared with 2013 (548 MW). The volume growth and higher share in the system business would result in revenues of more than €680 million this year and an increase to more than €1 billion in 2016, the company added.

The ambitious forecast is in line with the company’s medium-term plan drawn up in November and validated by PricewaterhouseCoopers, although it stressed that the "continuing crisis in the solar industry and political developments made it difficult to forecast future business development."

As basis for its planning, SolarWorld’s management assumes that the solar industry will reach the final stage of consolidation this year. The company said global demand for solar energy products would likely continue to grow in 2014, but that prices would probably remain at their current level, adding that it expected market growth to also have an effect on its own sales development.

In addition to its improved EBITDA result, operational restructuring measures taking effect this year are also expected to contribute to a positive cash flow from operating activities. The company expects an operating loss of between €35 million and €20 million for 2014 but predicts a positive pre-tax result for 2015 in addition to a further increase in revenue of more than 20 percent.

SolarWorld’s management pointed out, however, that the assumptions and framework conditions it used for its corporate planning could be subject to change.