Thalheim, August 14, 2006 - Q-Cells AG (QCE; WKN 555866) has presented its report for the first half of 2006. Q-Cells AG, the European market leader and the world’s second largest solar cell producer, continued further on its growth course, increasing production for the first six months of 2006 to 112.6 MWp from 66.6 MWp a year earlier. This reflects growth of approximately 69%.
Sales, earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) and net income for the period rose significantly in the first half. Sales increased 108% to EUR 243.1 million from EUR 116.7 million in the prior-year period. EBIT and net income grew even more than sales at rates of 138% and 153%, respectively, to EUR 55.9 million (EUR 23.5 million) and EUR 37.4 million (EUR 14.8 million).
Based on these figures and the expected second half results, Q-Cells AG is raising its forecast for fiscal 2006. The company continues to expect that it will increase production to approximately 255 MWp (2005: 165.7 MWp). Based on continued progress in optimizing products and production processes as well as somewhat improved sales conditions and cost ratios, Q-Cells now anticipates sales of approximately EUR 525 million for fiscal 2006 (2005: EUR 299.4 million), EBIT of approximately EUR 115 million (2005: EUR 63.2 million) and net income of approximately EUR 75 million (2005: EUR 39.9 million).
The export ratio increased significantly compared to the prior-year period. In the first half, Q-Cells AG generated 49.1% of its sales outside of Germany. This ratio was only 35.4% in the same period of 2005. In view of the continued growth in export demand, the company expects to increase this share to 60% by the end of 2007.As of the end of the first half of 2006, the company had an annual production capacity of 280 MWp at its Thalheim location (equal to a nominal capacity of 350 MWp). By the end of 2006, production capacity is to increase by 56 MWp to 336 MWp (corresponding to a nominal capacity of 420 MWp) based on conversion, expansion and optimization of the existing lines I-IV. By the end of 2007, the production capacity will be increased to 432 MWp (corresponding to a nominal capacity of 540 MWp) based on the completion of the first two expansion stages of production line V.
Furthermore, Q-Cells AG now anticipates production in its core business will reach 330 MWp for 2007 (previously 316 MWp). To ensure further growth in the core business beyond 2007, Q-Cells AG concluded additional supply contracts in the second quarter of 2006 for silicon and silicon wafers with a total capacity of 430 MWp, with priority on 2009 to 2018.
As of June 30, 2006, Q-Cells AG employed 869 persons; additional hires are planned due to the capacity expansions.
The Second Quarter 2006 report and the current company presentation are available for download from the Investor Relations section of Q-Cells AG's website (www.q-cells.com).