Centrotherm reports increasing order intake

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Centrotherm International AG recorded the highest order intake of the past four years in the past financial year. It was €175.5 million, as the German PV equipment provider reported on Thursday.

This includes major orders for production solutions for PERC solar cells and CIGS thin film modules. In particular, the latter are expected to contribute to sales this year. At the end of 2017, the order backlog was almost at the same level as new orders, the company stated.

In terms of sales, Centrotherm lagged behind the 2016 result. Turnover fell from €144.3 million to approximately €102 million. However, the total operating performance of €149.8 million reflects the high level of production utilization last year, the company said.

Significant improvements were achieved by Centrotherm in its results. EBITDA increased last year from €2.8 million to about €18.6 million. EBIT also clearly improved from -965,000 to €15.4 million.

Essentially, the positive income can be attributed the deconsolidation of subsidiaries. At the same time, as a result of the provisions in connection with a failed large-scale project in Algeria, losses also arose in 2017.

Centrotherm CEO, Jan von Schuckmann emphasized the development successes achieved last year. For example, the PECVD process for the aluminum oxide coating of Asian photovoltaic manufacturers has brought to mass production.

The process was crucial for achieving efficiencies of up to 22% in the industrial production of monocrystalline PERC solar cells. Subsidiary FHR has also positioned itself well for the future with a strategically important major order for production facilities for CIGS thin film modules.

“In addition, it is important to address new markets with innovative technologies in the next few years,” Schuckmann continued.

Outlook for 2018

For the current year, the Centrotherm Executive Board expects the Asian cell and module manufacturers to continue investing in the expansion of new production capacities. The focus here would be on highly efficient technologies, such as PERC.

Therefore, the board sees good market opportunities for its PERC solutions over the next 18 to 24 months. In addition to the solar industry, semiconductor demand is expected to increase. As a result, Centrotherm expects sales to grow from €110 million to €150 million for the current year.

Despite the high price and competitive pressure and a difficult PV market environment, a balanced EBITDA is also expected.