While German solar production equipment suppliers are far from being out of the woods, positive signs are emerging from a number of different quarters. Centrotherm is one such company, registering a profit in 2015, as restructuring takes effect and orders from the solar segment continue to pick up.
Centrotherms 2015 revenue missed guidance of EUR150 200 million (US$170 – $227 million), coming in at EUR139 million ($158 million), down on EUR184.1 million ($209 million) from 2014. However its profitability has increased, with 2015s EUR7 million ($8 million) well above the EUR1.2 million ($1.4 million) achieved the previous year. EBIT margin also increased from 10.3% to 13.7% YoY.
Looking forward, centrotherm has reported EU49 million ($55.7 million) in new orders in Q1 2016, which the company attributed to solar cell manufacturers making significant investments in expanding existing and new production capacities. Centrotherm guides revenues of between EUR120 150 million ($136 – $170 million) in 2016, with delays to the Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) polysilicon production project in Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar negatively affecting the result.
QSTec stepped forward as centrotherms new owner in January 2016, having purchased an 80% stake in the company adding to the list of German PV equipment suppliers that are part of wholly foreign owned.
With delays to the QSTec project, centrotherm has seen its silicon segment play a less significant role in its 2015 earnings. Silicon equipment supply was responsible for 30% of centrotherms 2015 earnings, down from 45% YoY, while its PV and semiconductor segment grew to almost 60%, up 10% YoY. Its thin film and customized equipment segment increase earnings contribution from 6% to 10% YoY.
Centrotherm booked EUR91 million ($103 million) in new orders in 2015, with EUR69 million ($78 milion) coming from PV and semi, with thin film and customized equipment bringing in EUR22 million ($25 million) in new bookings. It closed 2015 with an order book totaling EUR114 million ($129.5 million), down from EUR150 million ($170 million) YoY. At the close of Q1 2016, this had risen to EUR146 million ($166 million).
In a management change, Jan von Schuckmann has been appointed to the centrotherm board, having previously overseen the companys restructuring. Boris Klebensberger, centrotherms COO, has relinquished his position on the companys management board, due to differing ideas about the companys future strategic orientation, the company said is a statement. Peter Augustin retains his position on the board.
The forthcoming May edition of pv magazine features an article on the outlook for German PV production equipment suppliers and current market pressures. pv magazine global May 2016 edition will be available on May 13.