SolarWorld posts Q1 net loss despite revenue increase

SolarWorld AG on Monday posted a pre-tax loss of €8 million despite a 50% increase in revenue in the first quarter of the year.

Last year’s financial restructuring measures, including a cash injection by Qatar Solar, which took a 29% stake in the company, buoyed SolarWorld’s first-quarter results, although the German-U.S. PV manufacturer continued to post net losses in the remaining three quarters of 2014.

In the first three months of 2015, SolarWorld’s consolidated revenue grew by 50% to €149 million year-on-year.

The company said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were up due to improve efficiency and cost structure at all of its locations, the group’s net bottom line was €8 million in the red. SolarWorld pointed out that last year’s first-quarter EBITDA result also included positive one-off effects amounting to €136 million, including the initial accounting of the acquisition of Bosch Solar Energy AG’ solar activities.

Nevertheless, SolarWorld increased shipments of modules and kits by 44% to 202 MW, up from 140 MW a year ago. The company achieved particularly strong growth in the United States, where it boosted shipments by 170% to 116 MW, up from 43 MW. The U.S. accounted for a 57% share of the group’s total shipments of modules and kits. SolarWorld also saw growth in Japan, Australia and South Africa.

While its export business outside of the euro zone benefited from the currency’s low rate, overall shipments to Europe declined as the group’s foreign share of shipments increased nine percentage points to 90%.

Last year cash injections from both Qatar Solar and SolarWorld CEO Frank Asbeck as well as a share increase resulted in a “restructuring profit” of €555.7 million and an annual net profit of €464.16 million, up from a €228.3 million net loss in 2013.

On a quarterly basis, SolarWorld posted a net profit €550 million in the first three months of 2014 followed by losses in the subsequent three quarters saw of €52.2 million, €8.65 million and €25 million, respectively.