The UK polycrystalline wafer manufacturer PV Crystalox saw its shipments almost halved and its revenue decrease by 12% in 2016. According to preliminary results, the company shipped 114 MW last year, down considerably from 203 MW in 2015. Revenue also decreased 12% year-on-year from €64.5 million to €56.7 million.
Net result, however, improved from a loss of €13.7 million in 2015 to a profit of €1.7 million.
The company blamed massive over-capacity in China depressing prices for both cells and wafers for last year’s performance. Especially in the second half of 2016 wafer prices reached new historic lows. “Wafer pricing, said the company in its statement, fell more rapidly during this period reaching a new historic low in late-September, down 35% from the previous low point seen in mid-2015 and down 40% from the high at the beginning of 2016”. Moreover, PV Crystalox said that the recent recovery of polysilicon prices is negatively impacting wafer production costs.
The company, which is currently manufacturing wafers only at its German factory, added it was able to reduce its polysilicon inventory by 85% and to achieve a significant reduction in working capital in 2016.
Furthermore, PV Crystalox announced it will close its ingot production facilities in the UK during 2017. The company said it will source ingots from a third-party supplier and process these into blocks in the UK and continue to supply wafers to customers from its facility in Germany.
The company expects oversupply of polycrystalline wafer to continue in 2017, while China and the U.S. are forecast to remain its major market. “Although the Group achieved a creditable financial performance in 2016, the prospects for 2017 are bleak without a recovery in market pricing,” PV Crystalox said.
In February, the company closed its wafer production in Japan. The unit had been idled during 2015, due to a decline in cell manufacturing and the lack of an active customer base in Japan.