Q-Cells AG, located in Thalheim (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) continued on its growth course in the third quarter of 2005, as confirmed by the figures for the first nine months published today.
The world’s largest independent solar cell producer, which is listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, increased production by 131.6% to 110.7 MWp from 47.8 MWp a year earlier. Sales rose accordingly, increasing 133% in the first nine months of 2005 to EUR 196.9 million from EUR 84.6 million a year earlier. Net income grew even more, climbing 227% to EUR 25.3 million from EUR 7.8 million year on year. Operating cash flow increased to EUR 13.2 million in the first nine months of the year from 2.8 million in the prior-year period.
This positive sales and earnings trend is expected to continue in the fourth quarter of the year. For 2005 as a whole, Q-Cells anticipates sales of nearly EUR 290 million and net income of approx. EUR 37 million.
Based on this third-quarter growth, the Company added another 42 jobs at the Thalheim location. As of September 30, 2005, Q-Cells AG employed at total of 731 people.
“Rapid expansion of our production capacities is one of our most important goals,” stated CEO Anton Milner upon publication of the figures. “We have made good progress toward this objective in the past quarter. The additional expansion of our fourth production line is proceeding as planned. This should allow us to increase our nominal capacity to 350 MWp by the end of the first half of 2006." As of September 30, 2005, nominal capacity was at 271 MWp.
The Company is pushing ahead with internationalization of its customer base: The export ratio for the first nine months of 2005 was 35.8%, up from 28.3% a year earlier. Q-Cells succeeded in concluding new supply agreements with independent module producers in Southern Europe’s key markets of the future – especially Spain – as well as in east Asia. The company also acquired its first customers in countries such as Turkey, Cyprus and Mexico.
The construction of the production facilities of CSG Solar AG and EverQ GmbH at the Thalheim site is proceeding as planned. Q-Cells holds shares of 22.32% and 24.9% respectively in these companies. CSG Solar AG has completed construction of its factory building and will start production of thin-layer modules in the second quarter of 2006 using the "crystalline silicon on glass" process, in which a thin layer of silicon is vapor deposited onto a glass carrier. On October 11, a topping-out ceremony was held at the construction site of EverQ GmbH, a joint venture with the U.S. firm Evergreen Solar, Inc. EverQ is expected to start production in the second quarter of 2006 too. The string ribbon technology used by this company also involves major cost reduction potential, as does CSG's technology.
Q-Cells AG's rapid growth is increasingly seen as a success story by the public. Q-Cells AG has been the recipient of several prizes and awards in recent weeks. The company received the award of “Entrepreneur of the Year for 2005” in the start-up category along with the “German Job Creation Award for 2005”, which is bestowed on the company creating the most new jobs in percentage terms. In addition, Q-Cells AG received the “Ethics in Business” award conferred on companies demonstrating ethical responsibility in their actions. Finally, Q-Cells took an outstanding ninth place among Europe’s 500 most rapidly-growing companies as the best-ranked production company.