aleo solar has posted revenues of €344.6 million for the first nine months of 2011, a 16.4% decrease on 2010’s corresponding figure. The Prenzlau-based module manufacturer is the latest PV company to feel the pinch from the solar industry’s global downturn, which has hit module prices particularly hard.
At the same stage last year, with the solar industry booming, aleo’s revenue was already €412.1 million. However, fast forward 12 months and a combination of feed-in tariff cuts and wider economic difficulties has seen profits plummet. Despite production volume rising to 246.2MW, aleo’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell from €40.3 million in 2010 to €7.4 million, with an EBIT margin of 2.2%. Earnings per share amounted to €0.37.
“The strong drop in module prices has depressed both revenue and earnings,” said aleo’s CEO and CFO, York zu Putlitz. “Demand in Germany was considerably weaker than in 2010, which was a record year.”
One bright spot on the horizon was aleo’s international activity; growth in several European markets outside of Germany inspired a 54% rise in international revenue, from €118.6 million in the first three quarters of 2010 to €183.5 million for the same period in 2011. “… we managed to generate growth in our international markets: revenue increased more than fourfold in Belgium, nearly doubled in Greece and rose substantially in Italy and France,” Putlitz added.
With demand in Q3 far weaker than expected, to avoid building up excessive inventories aleo has scaled down production and in November stopped employing temporary workers. Accordingly, it is also revising its revenue forecast for 2011 to €440 million; in its half-yearly report it forecasted a final figure of €515 million.