Thalheim, 19 April 2006 - Q-Cells AG in Thalheim (Germany) has presented its Annual Report for 2005 as well as the first preliminary figures for the first quarter of 2006 at its Annual Press Conference held today, April 19, 2006.
The company has continued growing in 2006, with production again increasing by 80 % to 53.7 MWp (Q1 2005: 29.9 MWp). Sales rose by 116 % to EUR 114 million (Q1 2005: EUR 52.8 million). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) grew 129 % to EUR 24 million (Q1 2005: 10.5 million). Net income grew disproportionately high, rising 138 % to EUR 15.5 million (Q1 2005: EUR 6.5 million).
"We are on an uninterrupted growth course, having reached global leadership in solar cell production in only five years," stated Anton Milner, CEO of Q-Cells, upon publication of the quarterly figures. "A secure supply of silicon, fast-growing demand on the world markets and continuous advancement of our technology and production processes will enable very good performance in 2006."
Outlook for fiscal year 2006 indicates steady growth
Based on the company's good performance in the first quarter of 2006 and its mostly secure supply of raw materials, Q-Cells AG has given an updated outlook for the current year. The company at present expects to increase production to approx. 255 MWp, leading to sales of approx. EUR 480 million, EBIT of approx. 100 million and net income of approx. EUR 65 million.
The world's second-largest producer of solar cells will continue expanding production capacities in 2006 as planned. After completing production line IV, Q-Cells AG will create additional production capacities by expanding and optimizing lines I-IV. This should increase production capacity to 336 MWp (equal to a nominal capacity of 420 MWp) by the end of 2006. For 2007, a production increase to 316 MWp is anticipated.
This expansion of production capacities will be enabled by a contracted and secured supply of silicon and silicon wafers, the input materials for solar cell production. Q-Cells AG has already contracted for wafer and silicon supplies for a total capacity of 256 MWp in 2006. A foundation for continued growth in the following years has also been established: Delivery quantities of 298 MWp have been secured for 2007, 389 MWp for 2008 and 1,178 MWp for 2009-2016, and negotiations for additional quantities are underway.
Q-Cells AG will continue to internationalize its business and diversify its customer base with the aim of increasing the export rate to over 50% by 2008. The company is concentrating its efforts on the strategically important markets of Southern Europe, North America and East Asia. In the Spanish market, for instance, Q-Cells has significantly expanded its position, and in North America the company has concluded major supply agreements for the first time with
CSG Solar AG and EverQ GmbH, both located in Thalheim, will take up production as planned in 2006. Q-Cells has stakes of 23% and 21%, respectively, in these companies. EverQ GmbH produced its first module at the end of February 2006 and is expected to reach full production capacity on schedule by the end of the first half. Company shareholders will resolve on construction of a second production line in the third quarter at the latest. At CSG Solar AG, the first module and the start of production is anticipated for the second quarter. Here too, the relevant corporate bodies are expected to decide on construction of the next factory presumably until the end of the third quarter.
Q-Cells AG will invest in four central development projects in fiscal 2006 over and above the expansion of production capacities in the company's core business and the two shareholdings. These investments will involve development of a new generation of silicon-wafer-based, highcapacity solar cells and commercialization of various thin-film technologies. However, the company is not only researching new projects. Q-Cells is also stepping up research activities in its core business. By the end of 2006, the R&D department is expected to increase from the current 57 scientists to nearly 100. Q-Cells AG is thus reinforcing its strategic goal of achieving rapid and lasting cost reductions for photovoltaic systems by steadily improving products and production processes in order to make this technology competitive at peak load times and in areas with high levels of sunshine as quickly as possible.
The 2005 Annual Report and current company presentation are available for download from the Investor Relations section of Q-Cells AG's website at www.q-cells.com.