Thalheim, 28 February 2006 - Q-Cells AG, based in Thalheim near Wolfen (eastern Germany), continued on its path of growth in 2005. This is revealed by the full-year preliminary results for 2005 that the company published today, with the Group reporting to IFRS for the first time.
Having more than doubled its output year on year to 165.7 MWp (2004: 75.9 MWp), the company is one of the world's three largest manufacturers of solar cells. Sales surged by 132 percent to €299.4 million (2004: €128.7 million).
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) more than trebled year on year to €63.2 million (2004: €19.6 million). Despite the pro rata inclusion of the start-up losses incurred by the building of the production lines at affiliates CSG Solar AG and EverQ GmbH, net income jumped by 233 percent to €39.9 million (2004: €12 million).
The world's largest independent manufacturer of solar cells continued to expand its production capacities as planned and now has an annual capacity of 234 MWp - equating to a nominal capacity of 292 MWp - at its site in Thalheim.
"In a year characterized more than ever before by the shortage of silicon, our key raw material, we managed to continue our strong growth”, said Anton Milner, CEO of Q-Cells AG, at the official announcement of the company's results. “We need this growth to achieve our overriding goal of cutting the costs of photovoltaics. We will continue this growth strategy in 2006 by completing our Line IV.”
This path of growth has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the workforce. Q-Cells created a total of 283 new, highly skilled and secure jobs in the Bitterfeld/Wolfen region in 2005. This brought the number of people working at the Thalheim site to 767 at the end of 2005.
The company also made considerable headway with the internationalization of its business in 2005, raising its export ratio sharply to 36.8 percent (2004: 25.8 percent). Its short-term target is to increase this share to over 50 percent by 2008, thus strengthening its position in the strategically important markets of southern Europe, East Asia and North America. Q-Cells Asia Limited, a subsidiary set up in Hong Kong in 2005, should help it attain these goals. The sales office, initially staffed by two people, opened for business at the start of this year and covers the whole of East and Southeast Asia.
CSG Solar AG and EverQ GmbH are also performing according to plan. These two affiliates, in which Q-Cells AG holds stakes of 23 percent and 21 percent respectively, are due to commence production in their first lines at the Thalheim site in the first half of this year. Both technologies - the thin-film process used by CSG Solar and the String Ribbon technology used by EverQ to manufacture wafers - offer huge potential for cost savings.