Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 22 February 2011 – Q-Cells SE, one of the world’s leading photovoltaic companies, increased its sales in 2010 by more than 70 % year on year to a total of €1.35 billion (2009: €790.4 million). At €387 million, total sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 were up 54 % on the previous year, almost matching the results of the very strong third quarter of 2010.
With operating income (EBIT) totalling €82.3 million, Q-Cells also slightly exceeded the EBIT forecast for the financial year 2010 of €75 million to €80 million (Q4 2010: €27.7 million). The result after taxes (from continuing operations) came to a total of €90.9 million in the financial year 2010; net income including income from discontinued operations amounted to €18.9 million.
In the fourth quarter of the financial year, Q-Cells also managed to reduce its net working capital significantly, particularly in the systems business. The Company had around €340 million in net working capital at the end of the year – on 30 September 2010, it was still €646 million. This is one of the reasons for cash and cash equivalents rising by 22 % to €474 million in the fourth quarter and financial liabilities dropping by more than a quarter to approximately €804 million. In the fourth quarter of 2010, Q-Cell’s net debt therefore went down by more than half to €330 million. The net debt to EBITDA ratio fell by 55 % to 1.8 (end of Q3 2010: 4.0). The Company’s total equity ratio went up to 41 % as a result of the successful refinancing measures in autumn and due to the positive business development (end of Q3 2010: 31 %).
“Q-Cells has lowered its debt to a reasonable level,” said Marion Helmes, CFO of Q-Cells SE. “We have a healthy balance sheet structure that places us in an solid position to master the challenges yet to come.”
The positive development of the 2010 figures went alongside the successful step-by-step implementation of the strategic transformation.
New business segments “Solar Modules” and “C&I Systems” strengthen income in the fourth quarter
The positive figures particularly reflect the successful expansion of the modules business and the systems business for medium-sized roof-top systems and small ground-mounted systems (so-called Commercial & Industrial). The new business segments generated a total of €363 million, accounting for 27 % of annual sales. With high sales volumes in the fourth quarter in particular, these segments contributed significantly to the results. Q-Cells has driven the expansion of these two business segments in 2010 with full speed, relying on its strong brand as well as its own high-quality solar cells, which form the basis for its solar modules and solar systems.
The export rate totalled 67 % in the fourth quarter and is the result of the successful expansion of Q-Cell’s global sales activities. For the full year 2010, Q-Cells recorded an export rate of just over 50 %.
“As previously announced, we once again achieved positive results in the fourth quarter of 2010, despite significantly higher purchasing prices for wafers and further materials in the solar industry,” commented Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE. “Our figures show that we have made the right strategic decision by adding products and systems with stronger margins to our portfolio. We will continue to consistently implement this strategy, especially as the market is more challenging in 2011.”
Q-Cells expands international business
After successfully completing the restructuring program in the summer of 2010, Q-Cells secured its medium-term liquidity by implementing financing measures in September 2010. This gives the Company sufficient leeway for further international growth. In 2010, Q-Cells already secured market access in 15 countries around the world, which account for over 80 % of the global photovoltaic market volume. Q-Cells continued to expand in the core markets France and Italy and also managed to enter the North American market. Here, Q-Cells has already been awarded projects with a total volume of some 120 megawattpeak (MWp). In addition, country offices were established in Australia, India and the UK in 2010.
For the first time in 2010, Q-Cells produced more than 1 GWp in solar cells and modules. Compared to the previous year, production increased by 84 % to 1,014 MWp (approximately 940 MWp in solar cells and 74 MWp in CIGS thin-film solar modules). The Company increased total production capacity to 1.3 GWp during the course of the year. This figure includes its own cell production lines in Germany and Malaysia as well as the German thin-film module production line. On top of that, Q-Cells manufactured polycrystalline solar modules with a total capacity of 400 MWp with international partners. The Company will continue to expand production capacities in the module business in 2011. Plans include a dedicated production line at the Thalheim site for the high-performance solar module Q.PEAK.
Solar modules made by Q-Cells have demonstrated their leading edge technology in testing at the renowned test site in Alice Springs, Australia, with above-average performance even under extreme climatic conditions (www.dkasolarcentre.com.au).
The successful implementation of the new strategy and the ensuing sales in 2010 are an important step on the path to become an international provider of photovoltaic-solutions.
A presentation of the 2010 preliminary figures is available for download on the Q-Cells SE website (www.q-cells.de) in the Investor Relations section.
Selected key figures:
in Mio. € Q4 2009 Q4 2010 2009 2010
Production volume 161 MWp 297 MWp 551 MWp 1,014 MWp
Sales revenues 250.5 386.9 790.4 1,354.2
Operating income (EBIT) -212.6 27.7 -362.5 82.3
Net income for the period -137.6 50.2 -370.8 90.9 (from continued operations)