Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 12 August 2010 – Q-Cells SE (QCE; ISIN DE0005558662) has achieved further significant successes in the second quarter of 2010 within its restructuring and strategic transformation which are reflected in a positive development of sales and EBIT figures. Total production volume of solar cells and thin-film modules was around 238 megawatts-peak (MWp) in the second quarter and thus 37 % higher than in the first quarter (174 MWp); the figure for the first half of 2010 amounts to 412 MWp. A strong factor contributing to this growth included the high rise in production volume at Q-Cells’ Malaysian solar cell factory, which almost doubled its production output as against the previous quarter to nearly 100 MWp. Thin-film module production at the Thalheim location also virtually doubled from a low level to around 17 MWp. Sales in the first half of the year amounted to € 565.7 million with the company generating € 333.5 million in the second quarter. This marks an increase of 144 % on the same quarter of the previous year and growth of 44 % as against the first quarter of 2010. For the first time, Q-Cells is reporting significant sales in its newly launched solar module business. Deliveries of crystalline modules amounted to 44 MWp in the second quarter.
Operative EBIT for the second quarter was € 27.1 million (H1 2010: € 17.9 million). Thus, one of the key goals of the restructuring programme – operative profitability in the second quarter of 2010 – has been achieved. Ramp-up costs for production in Malaysia and thin-film module production in Germany amounted to around € 4 million in the past quarter. These ramp-up losses were therefore reduced significantly as against the previous quarter (Q1 2010: € 9 million).
The result for the period in the second quarter was € 35.2 million, producing a figure for the first half of the year of € 11.2 million including the loss in the first quarter. Continuing operations accounted for € 37.0 million in the second quarter and € 27.4 million in the first half of the year (discontinued operations in Q2: € 1.8 million; H1: € 38.6 million).
Management Board team complete – Nedim Cen remains CEO
The Supervisory Board of Q-Cells SE has named Nedim Cen as CEO of Q-Cells SE for the next five years with effect of 1 September 2010. Nedim Cen, so far Managing Director at restructuring advisor Alvarez & Marsal (A&M), had taken on the CFO position at Q-Cells SE back in June 2009 as well as the CEO position in March 2010 on an interim basis. He has since successfully led the restructuring of the company and will now as CEO continue the strategic transformation of Q-Cells. The position of CFO has been taken on by Marion Helmes since July 2010. Hans-Gerd Füchtenkort (Marketing & Sales) and Gerhard Rauter (Operations & Technology) complete the team of the Management Board.
“We are very pleased that Dr. Nedim Cen has agreed to continue his work with Q-Cells. He has so far done an excellent job with restructuring and transforming the company,” said Karlheinz Hornung, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Q-Cells SE. “The new strategy to develop Q-Cells into a provider of photovoltaic solutions is on its way. With the launch of solar modules we have taken the first successful step which is reflected in a positive operative result for the second quarter 2010. Yet, the way ahead is still strewn with obstacles which I am certain Nedim Cen, the Management Board and the whole Q-Cells team will handle appropriately.”
Transformation and customer focus
In June, Q-Cells successfully launched its new product portfolio that, in addition to solar cells and thinfilm modules, also includes crystalline modules and systems business with large solar power plants and medium-sized photovoltaic systems for commercial and industrial applications. The expansion of crystalline cell production in Malaysia is making rapid progress. The last piece of machinery was installed in the production hall on 29 June 2010. The plant will now focus on optimising production so that the planned capacity of 600 MWp will be reached by the end of the third quarter of 2010.
In addition to cell production, which contributed around 50 % of sales in the second quarter, CIGS thin film technology is a key component to Q-Cells. The expansion of production for the Q.SMART modules to 135 MW by the end of 2010 is proceeding according to plan. Production at the Q-Cells subsidiary Solibro – one of the three largest productions of this technology in the world – has achieved high efficiency levels of up to 13 % for thin-film modules. Q-Cells is examining the further development of Solibro on the basis of this technological progress.
Along with large solar power plants, Q-Cells is now also developing medium-sized photovoltaics systems for commercial and industrial applications. Systems have already been successfully initiated in this segment in the second quarter: Two solar power stations in Ahorn (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) are supplying 11 MWp while a facility in Spremberg (Brandenburg, Germany) is feeding 5.3 MWp of solar electricity into the grid. In working this market segment, Q-Cells is calling on its experience of building major photovoltaics systems and thereby optimising its capital employed.
The Executive Board feels that the positive results for the second quarter of 2010 prove the effectiveness of the restructuring measures. After focusing the investment portfolio, adjusting capacity, reduction of wafer supply costs, and implementing a strict investment management, the Executive Board is assuming that the restructuring of Q-Cells SE will largely be complete by the end of 2010. In future, Q-Cells will continue to work intensively on cutting costs, optimising working capital and liquidity. Furthermore, internal processes will be brought in line with the company’s clear focus on customers – from service and product development through to marketing.
“We have successfully largely concluded our restructuring. Yet, we will continue to systematically improve cost structures as we move forwards,” said Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE. “In the strategic transformation of the company we are concentrating on our strengths: the production of solar cells and modules, as well as the planning and creation of photovoltaics systems of various sizes. At the same time, we will have to further increase productivity and push ahead with the internationalisation of our business.” Q-Cells is forecasting total sales of € 1.1 to € 1.3 billion (previously €1.0 to €1.2 billion) and a positive operative EBIT for 2010 as a whole.
Further details can be found in the report as at 30 June 2010 and a presentation on the published figures and can be accessed on the Q-Cells SE website (www.q-cells.com) under Investor Relations.
Q1 2010 Q2 2010 H1 2010
Production 174 MWp 238 MWp 412 MWp
Sales € 232.3 million € 333.5 million € 565.7 million
EBIT € -9.3 million € 27.1 million € 17.9 million
Result for Period € -46.4 million € 32.5 million € -11.2 million