German residential customers abandoning SolarWorld but European trade business grows

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Impacted by its financial woes and ingoing restructuring, SolarWorld said that PV product shipments within its German domestic market continued to decline in the third quarter of 2013.

SolarWorld said in a statement pre-announcing preliminary quarterly results that: “Due to the ongoing restructuring of SolarWorld AG, especially private customers in the German market showed reluctance to buy. That is why SolarWorld’s business with solar kits declined heavily and mere sales of modules with its weaker margins prevailed in the reporting period.”

The company also noted that due to its financial position it was unable to access loan capital for large-scale PV projects, while restructuring had not yet been completed.

Trade sales boost from Chinese EU exit

In contrast, ‘trade’ sales, notably to other European countries as well as the US, increased in the third quarter to 180MW, a 57% increase compared to the same period a year ago.

The EU anti-dumping investigation, which was provisionally settled in the third quarter of 2013, had meant an exodus of Chinese module suppliers during the summer months, making trade customers look for alternative suppliers during the typically strongest period of the year for installations.

Q3 shipments and sales

SolarWorld’s foreign sales as a percentage of shipments in the quarter jumped to 76%, compared to 61% in the first nine-months of 2012.

Shipments including external solar wafer shipments reached 427MW in the first nine months of 2013, down from 470MW in the prior year period.

The company reported revenue in the first nine months of 2013 of €345.6 million, down 26% from €468.9 million in the prior year period.

However, on a quarterly basis, sales increased from just €89 million for the second quarter of 2013, to €144.6 million in the third quarter.

Losses

SolarWorld was able to reduce losses in the first nine months of 2013 to €60.2 million, compared to €123.2 million in the prior year period. Consolidated earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were negative €107.2 million down from €189.6 million in the first nine months of 2012.

SolarWorld had liquid funds of €163.8 million at the end of the third quarter, flat with the prior quarter.
 

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