Centrotherm photovoltaics looks back on a challenging 2011

With today's publication of its 2011 annual report, centrotherm photovoltaics AG confirms the preliminary results it announced on March 6, 2012, and presents further figures. Revenue advanced by 11.9 percent to EUR 698.5 million
(2010: EUR 624.2 million), with the export share standing at 95.4 percent (2010: 94.7 percent). Total operating performance grew by 11.1 percent to EUR 757.0 million (2010: EUR 681.2 million). Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell from EUR 101.3 million to EUR 10.2 million. The Group incurred an operating loss before interest and tax (EBIT) of EUR 19.8 million (2010: operating profit of EUR 75.4 million), and a consolidated net loss of EUR 15.9 million (2001: net income of EUR 51.1 million).
The equity ratio fell to 41.1 percent due to the consolidated net loss and the dividend payout (2010: 49.2 percent). Our liquidity position amounted to EUR 137.6 million as of the December 31, 2011 balance sheet date.
"2011 was no easy year for us. While the first half of the year was still characterized by a thoroughgoing order boom that prompted us to expand our production capacities, we were confronted by price falls and a deteriorating market from the third quarter of 2011. Overcapacities and ruinous price declines burdened polysilicon manufacturers, from wafers through to modules. This difficult sector environment, coupled with the late-summer European debt crisis, the banking crisis and uncertainties on financial markets demanded much of our customers and us," commented Dr. Thomas Riegler, CFO of centrotherm photovoltaics AG, at today's publication of the 2011 annual report. "These overall circumstances severely curbed our customers' propensity to invest and their financing possibilities, which fed through to modest new order intake in the third quarter. The sector and financing situation worsened in the fourth quarter, with our order situation finally undergoing a further drastic deterioration."
The Management Board has responded to the continued strains in the market and launched its ct focus efficiency program to run alongside cost and sales campaigns that are already in place. The program's stated objective is to grow sustainably and profitably with a streamlined and efficient organizational structure, and a strategic focus on crystalline silicon along the photovoltaic value chain.

In the Solar Cell & Module segment, revenue was increased from EUR 404.5 million in the previous year to EUR 607.9 million in a difficult 2011, thereby running counter to the general sector trend. The strained market situation, particularly in the fourth quarter 2011, fed through to the postponement and cancellation of individual projects, necessitating the revaluation of inventories. This pushed segment operating earnings down to EUR 71.9 million (previous year: EUR 91.6 million). Revenue in the Silicon & Wafer segment amounted to EUR 57.9 million (previous year: EUR 201.7 million). A loss of EUR 70.3 million was incurred at the EBIT level (previous year: operating profit of EUR 21.2 million). This segment's business trend was primarily affected by the strained sector situation and the
polysilicon price decline. Given the extreme deterioration in the market and financing situations, the Management Board was prompted to apply impairment charges to individual large-scale projects in the third quarter of 2011, which significantly burdened operating earnings.
Revenue of EUR 32.7 million was generated in the Thin Film Module segment (previous year: EUR 18.0 million) - and predominantly by the wholly-owned subsidiary FHR Anlagenbau. A EUR 21.4 million loss was incurred at the EBIT level, in line with expectations (previous year: operating loss of EUR 37.4 million).
The reporting year elapsed was characterized by continued uncertainty on financial markets, the difficult PV sector market environment, and customers' investment reticence. Centrotherm photovoltaics nevertheless booked new orders with a total volume of EUR 423.4 million in the 2011 financial year. The Solar Cell & Module segment generated 90 percent of these orders. The order book position stood at EUR 423.0 million as of December 31, 2011, of which EUR 234.6 million was attributable to the Solar Cell & Module segment, EUR 176.1 million to the Silicon & Wafer segment, and EUR 12.3 million to the Thin Film Module segment.

2012 outlook
Centrotherm photovoltaics will be confronted by challenges again in 2012 with some uncertainties. The sector is undergoing a consolidation phase, and its further development depends on a large number of factors, including influences from politics and the financial markets, which are currently difficult to predict. centrotherm photovoltaics has prepared accordingly with our ct focus efficiency program. The technology and equipment provider is
not assuming a significant change to the current situation during the first half of 2012.
?We also regard continued cost pressure in the photovoltaic sector as an opportunity for two reasons. First, our customers, manufacturers of solar cells and modules, and polysilicon, are focusing on highly-efficient technologies and production systems that lend them competitive advantages. Second, photovoltaics is quite clearly on a medium- to longterm growth path driven by the rising energy demand worldwide, and the energy policy turnaround that has started,? commented Robert M. Hartung, CEO and Management Board Spokesman of centrotherm photovoltaics AG. ?We prefer to refrain from issuing a revenue and earnings forecast for the 2012 financial year given the current market situation. We have positioned ourselves very well for the future in strategic terms with our focus on our core competencies, a strong large-scale project business and by directing our sales efforts towards the MENA countries."
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Posted by Gloria Llopis | 2012-03-27