Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 14 August 2007 - Q-Cells AG (QCE; ISIN DE0005558662) has presented its interim report for the first half of 2007. The world's second largest manufacturer of solar cells is continuing its expansionary course and increased production to 159.8 Megawatt peak (MWp) in the first six months of 2007 (previous year: 112.6 MWp), which equates to growth of approx. 42% on the first half of 2006. Thanks to improvements in the production process and increases in efficiency ratings, the quantity produced was raised from 78.0 MWp in the first quarter to 81.8 MWp in the second quarter despite production capacity remaining comparable.
In the first six months, sales revenues increased by 44% to EUR 350.4 million (EUR 243.1 million). In the second quarter, sales revenues stood at EUR 186.9 million, which is a rise of 46% on the same period in the previous year. Despite an increase in the cost of materials and lower sales prices at the beginning of the year, operating income (EBIT) increased by 45% to EUR 80.9 million (EUR 55.9 million) thanks to technological improvements and further cost savings. EBIT for the second quarter of 2007 reached EUR 44.7 million and was thus 52% up on the same period in the previous year. Despite the fall in sales prices, the EBIT margin remained stable compared with the respective period in the previous year at 22% (half year) and 23% (second quarter) respectively.
Net income for the period for the first half year totalled EUR 77.3 million (EUR 37.5 million). This corresponds to an increase of 106% on the same period in the previous year. A profit of EUR 43.6 million is reported for the second quarter, an increase of 112% on the same quarter in the previous year. In addition to net income from operating activity, net income for the period includes pro rata net income from REC Renewable Energy Corporation ASA as well as the resultant special factors.
Q-Cells AG posted ordinary net income from the holding in REC for the first half year of EUR 13.0 million. This figure comprises the pro rata net income of EUR 18.1 million and the writedown of the intangible REC assets acquired (primarily order backlog) of EUR 5.1 million. The write-down of the value of the put options on REC shares in the balance sheet because of the increase in the share price and the sale of 3.5 million REC shares to offset this reduction resulted in further special factors, which amounted to a total of EUR 13.4 million in the first six months of 2007.
The export ratio increased to 57.6% in the course of further internationalisation.
On the basis of the figures for the first half of 2007 and in view of the successful ramp-up of the new line V, Q-Cells is again raising its forecast for the fiscal year 2007. In the year as a whole, production output in the Group's core business of approx. 370 MWp is expected (previous year 253.1 MWp). Previously the Company had assumed production output of 360 MWp. On the basis of the increase in production quantities and the expected price trend in the second half of the year, Q-Cells AG is now assuming sales revenues of at least EUR 800 million (previously approx. EUR 750 million) for fiscal year 2007. Operating income (EBIT) should increase to around EUR 170 million while the EBIT margin, which will be affected by the start-up costs for the new technologies, should stand at approx. 21% in fiscal year 2007. In its core business, Q-Cells AG expects net income of approx. EUR 130 million (previous forecast at least EUR 120 million). The start-up costs of the new technologies and non-recurrent income from sales of silicon will probably lead to net expenses of around EUR 10 million.
Overall, Q-Cells AG expects net income of approx. EUR 163 million before taking the change in value of the put options in the second half of 2007 into account. This income will be made up of net income from core business, new technologies and silicon business of approx. EUR 120 million and the effects of the holding in REC. These include pro rata net income from REC, which will amount to approx. EUR 41 million on the basis of current consensus estimates and net income of EUR 44 million from the sale of 3.5 million REC shares. These positive factors from the holding in REC will be offset by the write-down of the intangible assets acquired with the purchase of REC shares (primarily order backlog), which is expected to amount to EUR 11 million. The impact on the balance sheet resulting from the change in the value of our put options vis à vis Orkla ASA amounted to EUR 30.6 million for the first half year. If the price of REC shares continues to rise, this will result in a possible impact on the balance sheet of up to EUR 38.4 million for the year as a whole.
For 2008, Q-Cells sets itself the target of achieving sales of at least EUR 1 billion and a return on sales of 13%. For 2009, the company aims at sales of at least EUR 1.4 billion.
The report on the first half of 2007 and a current company presentation are available to download from the Investor Relations section of the Q-Cells AG website (www.q-cells.com).