PV and polysilicon equipment specialist centrotherm Group reported a return to profitability in 2014 on the back of recovering sales of €189.2 million, driven by an upturn in revenue from PV equipment sales and progress on building a polysilicon plant in Qatar.
The company reported full year 2014 sales of €189.2 million, compared to €119.4 million in 2013, primarily due to bankruptcy restructuring which shortened the fiscal year to eight months.
centrotherm reported EBITDA of €25.3 million, compared to a negative EBITDA of €4.6 million in 2013.
The company noted that higher total operating revenue as well as other operating income of €36.4 million was primarily due to extraordinary items in the 2014 financial year, which contributed to this EBITDA improvement. Operating profit (EBIT) improved to €19.6 million, compared to a negative €7.4 million, reflecting a 10.3 % EBIT margin.
Order intake recovery
centrotherm reported new orders worth a total of €107.4 million in 2014, with €94.2 million attributable to the Photovoltaics & Semiconductor segment, marking highest level of new order intake in this segment since 2012.
The company noted that recovery in PV equipment orders was notable in the first half and fourth quarter of 2014, driven by new investments in solar cell capacity, which it said was then halted 'by intensified and widening punitive US tariffs on Chinese and Taiwanese solar products,'’before recovering in the fourth quarter of 2014.
According to PV Tech and Photovoltaics International's effective capacity expansion report for 2014, approximately 6.7GW of new solar cell and module capacity expansions were anounced in the first quarter of 2014 and 7.6GW in the fourth quarter of 2014, by far the two largest quarters for capacity announcements last year.
However, centrotherm said that its order book position amounted to €150.3 million as of December 31, 2014, compared with €229.1 million at the end of 2013.
The decline in the order book position was said to be attributable primarily to progress the company had made with the construction of a polysilicon production project in Qatar for Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) and the invoicing of several large-scale projects in the Photovoltaics & Semiconductor segment.
Despite the recovery in sales and new orders, centrotherm guided sales in 2015 to be in the range of €150 million to €200 million, the same guidance given for sales in 2014.