SolarWorld returns to profit, expects shipments to exceed 1 GW in 2015


On the back of doubling shipments in the U.S. and strong growth in France, the UK and Japan, SolarWorld has rebounded from registering serious losses and returns back into the black. The company saw consolidated revenues increase by 26% in 2014, with operating EBITDA earnings of €108 million ($118 million). This represents a major turnaround from an operating EBITDA loss of €147 million ($160 million) in 2013.

“2014 was a year of milestones,” said CEO Frank Asbeck. “In a short period of time, we have made considerable progress in sustainably leading the group back to the path of growth and profitability. We were also able to secure Qatar Solar S.P.C. as a new anchor investor, which holds 29% of shares in our company.”

Adjusted EBITDA came in at €2 million ($2.2 million). Consolidated earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were €62 million ($68 million). Liquid capital by the end of the year stood at €177 million ($193 million), up from €164 million ($179 million) in 2014.

“As expected, on the operational side before depreciation and amortization, we achieved a turnaround in 2014. EBITDA was again positive also without one-off effects. With this, we have achieved an important goal in the previous fiscal year. This was mainly a result of the many operational activities within the group to increase efficiency and reduce costs,” said Philipp Koecke, SolarWorld’s CFO.

Shipments of modules and “kits” came in at 849 MW, up from 548 MW in 2013. In Germany, where the PV power plant market has dried up, SolarWorld reported that it saw growth in the module and kit sales.

Looking to 2015, SolarWorld forecasts continuing growth. It reported a strong start to 2015, with sales up 30% in for Q1, over Q1 2014.

In 2015 SolarWorld expects to ship 1 GW of solar products, with wafer and cell shipments forecast to increase by at least 25%. The U.S. market, which is affected by anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Taiwanese solar products, will account for 50% of SolarWorld’s shipments in 2015. Germany will likely remain the companies largest European market, followed by the UK and France.

SolarWorld indicates that it plans to increase its production capacity across its three site, in the U.S. and Germany, to 1.6 GW. It has indicated that it is switching its entire cell production to PERC processes. It reports that it has completed its financial restructuring and the acquisition of the former Bosch Solar Energy production site.

The company says it will continue to serve “the quality market,” to register sales of more than €700 million ($763 million), up 25% YoY. SolarWorld expects to record another profitable result in 2015, excluding one-off effects.

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