Centrotherm International AG recorded an order volume of €37.7 million in the first six months of the year. This was achieved above all, by a significant increase in the number of orders received from the semiconductor and microelectronics industries.
“Order intake from the photovoltaic industry in the first half of 2018 remained below market expectations due to market conditions or investment,” said centrotherm on Thursday, when presenting its half-year figures.
Sales improved by about 23% year-on-year to €64.6 million. Revenues in the Photovoltaic & Semiconductor and Thin Film & Special Equipment segments increased significantly to €43.6 and €21.0 million – each about €10 million more than in the first half of 2017.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were, in the first half of the year, at €70,000 as planned, it said. A year earlier, centrotherm recorded an EBITDA gain of around €650,000. At EBIT level, the company recorded a loss of almost €1.5 million. In the same period of 2017, EBIT loss was €945,000.
Centrotherm was also surprised by the change of policy in China at the end of May. “The announcement from Beijing that it would significantly limit additional domestic photovoltaic expansion proved very surprising to the sector shortly after the most important trade fair, the SNEC PV, at the end of May. Planned investments in establishing new production capacities for high-efficiency solar cells – such as PERC solar cells – were postponed as a consequence,” said CEO, Jan von Schuckmann.
However, the German equipment manufacturer from Blaubeuren expects that planned investments will occur within the next 12 months, mainly in China. “Along with our AlOx-PERC production solution, we are meanwhile able to boost solar cell efficiency to up to 23% in mass production thanks to a newly developed LPCVD process. This process is deployed with passivated contacts such as POLO (Poly on Oxide), and is currently being introduced at the first customers,” Schuckmann continued.
The Management Board also confirmed the forecast for full year 2018. Expectations for 2018 sales are still between €110 million and €150 million. At the EBITDA level, centrotherm continues to strive for a balanced result, despite the difficult PV market environment.
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