Asian market lifts Centrotherm 2014 revenue to $208m

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Germany’s Centrotherm has posted encouraging financial results for 2014 that suggest the worst days may be over for the PV technology and equipment manufacturer.

Revenue of €189.2 million ($208 million) achieved last year was in the upper end of company guidance, which was stated in a range of €150 million to €200 million, marking Centrotherm’s first return to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) profitability since the conclusion of its insolvency proceedings.

The EBITDA margin improved to 13.4%, up from -3.9% in 2013, generating €25.3 million compared to a loss of €4.6 million the previous year. With a higher total operating revenue and a further €36.4 million operating income from other ventures, the company enjoyed net profitability of €1.2 million.

The bulk of Centrotherm’s revenue was achieved in foreign markets, 93.1% to be exact, of which 87.1% was attributable to Asia. Throughout 2014, total operating revenue reached €184.1 million compared to 2013’s €79 million.

New orders and 2015 outlook

Over the course of 2014 Centrotherm received new orders worth €107.4 million, of which the bulk – €94.2 million – was in the PV and semiconductor segment, marking the company’s healthiest level of new orders for three years as market recovery in the PV sector boosted Centrotherm’s bottom line.

The ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China/Taiwan prompted a number of Asia-based PV producers to put on hold production expansion plans – which served to suppress Centrotherm’s recovery, and a reduced order book of €150.3 million (compared to €229.1 million at the end of 2013) was attributable chiefly to the progress made at the company’s Qatar plant as well as the invoicing of several large-scale PV projects.

Revenue for 2015 is forecast at between €150 million and €200 million, exactly the same parameters as 2014. This target presupposes the completion of the construction of the Qatar polysilicon plant, as well as continued demand from cell manufacturers for new Centrotherm production systems and upgrades to existing lines.

Overall, Centrotherm expects to break even in 2015 as the company explores ways to boost efficiency and reduce costs.