Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 19 February 2008 – Q-Cells AG (QCE; ISIN DE0005558662) has published the preliminary figures for fiscal 2007. In the past year, the leading company in the photovoltaic sector continued on its growth course, increasing production in 2007 to 389.2 megawatt peak (MWp) (same period in the previous year: 253.1 MWp). This corresponds to year on year growth of 54%.
According to a press release published last Friday by the specialist magazine “Photon”, this production output made Q-Cells the world’s largest manufacturer of solar cells in 2007. The magazine reached this finding on the basis of the forecast production output of 370 MWp. With this figure Q-Cells would already have produced a greater total output than its largest competitors Sharp and Suntech.
In 2007, sales rose by 59% to EUR 858.9 million (EUR 539.5 million). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) grew by 52% to EUR 197.0 million (EUR 129.4 million). The EBIT margin (in relation to sales and changes in inventories) could therefore, at 23%, be maintained at the high level of the previous year.
Net income without the income contribution from the stake in REC Renewable Energy Corporation ASA was approx. EUR 127.0 million (EUR 87.7 million). Including the REC contribution, net income totaled approx. EUR 148.2 million, which equates to growth of 69% compared with the previous year. It is, however, lower than the originally expected figure, because the income contribution from the stake in REC turned out to be lower than expected, and another depreciation of the put options for the REC shares had to be carried out in the fourth quarter of 2007.
For fiscal 2008 as a whole, Q-Cells AG continues to expect total sales of approximately EUR 1.2 billion. Before taking account of the REC income contribution, the company is targeting a net operating margin of 14%. Total production of monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells and thin-film modules should rise to between 565 and 590 MWp in total in 2008. Of this total output, approximately 60% will be produced in the second half of the year. The reason for this lies in the availability of additional capacity both in the core business and in the thin-film segment from the middle of the year and in the optimization measures undertaken according to plan in production lines I to IV in the first half.
Further expansion in Germany and abroad approved
To allow rapid growth to continue, Q-Cells AG has decided on further expansion in its production capacity.
In its core business, the production of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells based on silicon wafers, Q-Cells AG has completed the ramp-up of the first two phases of expansion of production line V and is now starting work on the construction of production line VI in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. The first phase of expansion with a production capacity of 130 MWp is to start production in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Since the photovoltaic business is increasingly expanding worldwide, as part of its own globalization strategy, Q-Cells AG has decided to construct the company’s seventh production line in Malaysia. The company primarily anticipates advantages in opening up new growth markets and better protection against fluctuations in exchange rates from the construction of a factory for polycrystalline solar cells, which should reach a production capacity of more than 300 MWp over several phases of expansion. Construction will start in the second quarter of 2008 and the ramp-up phase for the first sep (160 MWp) is expected to start in the first quarter of 2009.
Calyxo GmbH, which produces thin-film modules using a patented cadmium telluride technology, will be extended beyond the capacity of 25 MWp currently under construction in 2008. Calyxo will construct an additional line with 60 MWp, which will start production in the second quarter of 2009. The factory is based on a design that allows it to construct production lines with this capacity very rapidly in future.
A presentation on the preliminary figures for 2007 is available for downloading on the Q-Cells AG's website (www.q-cells.com) in the Investor Relations section.