Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 14 November 2011. Q-Cells SE, one of the world’s leading photovoltaics companies, has generated comparatively solid quarterly results in view of a market environment which also in the third quarter was significantly more difficult than had generally been expected. The company’s revenues in the third quarter amounted to EUR 228.8 million, following revenues of EUR 316.0 million in the preceding quarter, which included a major utility project. Revenues for the first nine months total EUR 669.9 million. The company expects that the implementation of several major utility projects in the fourth quarter will produce revenues of a level similar to the second quarter. Thus the company confirms its target to reach some EUR 1 billion in revenues for the current year. In the third quarter, the operating result was again negative, standing at EUR
-47.3 million: this result was due largely to the continued fall in prices while purchasing prices declined with a time lag. Also, underutilisation of production capacities as well as expenditures for measures initiated in August 2011 had impacted operating results. On the other hand, unlike the preceding quarter, the third quarter was not affected by major write-offs. Instead, Q-Cells achieved its first positive free cashflow in 2011 of EUR 41.9 million, thereby among others lifting its cash and cash equivalents from EUR 169.5 million in the second quarter to EUR 230.3 million in the third quarter. The development of our module business was uplifting: shipments in the third quarter were the highest recorded so far this year. Initial orders for the flat roof system unveiled in September also prove that the strategy of expanding photovoltaic applications is bearing fruit. In the first nine months of 2011, the share of solar cells sales in total sales fell from 69.2% compared to 46.5% in the previous year.
Re-assignment of Executive Board positions
Marion Helmes resigned from her position as CFO of Q-Cells SE by her own request with effect from 14 November 2011 end of day. The Supervisory Board accepted her resignation but regrets her decision. Marion Helmes contributed significantly to the development of the company’s financial organisation during her time as an Executive Board member. The Supervisory Board would like to thank her for her commitment.
The Supervisory Board decided to reduce the Executive Board to two members in view of the company’s current situation. Responsibilities will be re-assigned: Nedim Cen will assume the position of CFO in addition to his role as CEO. COO Andreas von Zitzewitz will take over the additional responsibility for Marketing and Sales from Nedim Cen.
As previously stated, Q-Cells expects revenues of approximately EUR 1 billion and an operating result in the negative three-digit million range for the full year 2011. This includes an expected operating loss in the fourth quarter, as already published in August.
Sales prices in the first half year of 2011 have fallen more than expected due to weak demand. In addition, uncertainties regarding the further development of the photovoltaic market have not diminished in the past quarter contrary to expectations. These developments could have a negative impact on the planned increase in cash and cash equivalents in the fourth quarter of 2011. Although the current liquidity forecast still is in the latest forecast range of 300 to EUR 350 million, the company has taken the precaution of lowering the liquidity forecast for the end of 2011 due to still existing uncertainty about the operational development in the fourth quarter 2011. By the end of the third quarter, Q-Cells was able to increase cash and cash equivalents to EUR 230.3 million. The company expects a further increase of cash and cash equivalents to up to EUR 300 million until the end of the year 2011. This is expected to include restricted cash between EUR 60 to 70 million.
With a view to the cash and cash equivalents required for the operating business, it cannot be excluded that the company will not be able to fully repay the convertible bond due in February 2012. Against this background Q-Cells has contacted important bondholders who are invested in the company’s convertible bonds. Already at the end of October, the holders of the 2012 bond had elected a joint representative, thereby creating the possibility to defer the maturity of the convertible bond 2012 to a point in time after February 2012.
As already announced, Q-Cells has mandated investment bank Houlihan Lokey with assessing possible options. In connection with the company’s financial liabilities, Q-Cells is currently also updating its medium-term business plan as announced, being validated by a renowned business consultancy. The process of preparing this plan is in advanced stages and due to be concluded in the course of November.
Please find a presentation regarding the results of the third quarter on our website www.q-cells.com in the investor relations section