German solar company SolarWorld has seen its first quarter losses widen to 20.8 million ($23.7 million) in the first quarter of 2016 when compared to the same period last year (Q1 2015: losses of 10.4 million) despite increasing revenue over that time by more than 40%.
During the first three months of the year SolarWorlds revenue topped 212.6 million ($242.5 million), which was a 42.6% increase year-over-year on Q1 2015, when revenue was 149.1 million.
A notable achievement first revealed in the companys preliminary results published earlier this month is a 62% Y/Y increase in module shipments for the quarter, reaching 341 MW largely driven by strong demand in the U.S. market, which accounted for 164 MW of that total.
In its home market of Germany, SolarWorld also managed to double module shipments, and increased the number of supply orders for its PERC modules as well as shipments to large-scale solar projects in France and the U.S.
SolarWorlds operating performance rose to 210.1 million (up from 187.1 million in Q1 2015) as a result of higher revenues, but EBITDA could only reach 2.1 million for the quarter, which was below the 2.9 million recorded a year previously. The company cited the negative impact of exchange rate effects as a reason for this subdued performance. On an EBIT basis, group earnings were -9.7 million.
Looking ahead, the company reports an order backlog of 540 MW at the start of Q2, and expects to increase shipments for the fiscal year by 20% Y/Y, surpassing last years 1,159 MW figure. Consolidated revenue is also forecast to improve by around 20% Y/Y, with SolarWorld forecasting approximately 1 billion in revenue for the year.
For SolarWorld CEO Frank Asbeck, this year will be characterized by the companys focus on technology improvement, including PERC, bifacial modules and the introduction of five busbar technology. "These investments enable SolarWorld to increase its share of high-efficiency products in the mix," Asbeck said. "It will also improve our operating result over the year."