PV Crystalox hit by 28% fall in ASPs: Japanese customers shifting cell production to Taiwan

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In contrast to its rivals, PV Crystalox only increased 2010 revenue by 6.4%, while average selling prices (ASPs) for its wafers fell 28%. Wafer shipments were up 48% to 378MW; however, figures were rebased at a typical 16% cell efficiency, compared to 2009 rating of 15% cell efficiency. Revenue for 2010 reached €252.6 million, with EBIT of €34.5m representing a margin of 13.7%, significantly below many of its larger Asia-based competitors. Earnings after taxes were €23.3 million. Japan remained its largest market but sales are shifting to China and Taiwan.

PV Crystalox noted that due to strong demand, ingot production capacity would increase from 430MW achieved in 2010 to 535MW by end of the first quarter 2011. The company guided that ingot capacity would expand further this year, reaching an expected 670MW by the end of 2011, a 56% year-on-year increase.

Sales to China-based PV manufacturers grew significantly in 2010. Shipments to the country accounted for 30.7% of revenue, compared to only 9% in 2009. PV Crystalox noted that the strengthening Japanese Yen and the growth of high-quality competitively priced manufacturing in Taiwan was forcing Japanese PV manufacturers to increase its cell production outsourcing to Taiwan producers.

Although Japanese PV manufacturers remained its largest customer base, the share of sales to those companies fell to 31.1%, compared to 56.3% in 2009. The company said that an initial appraisal of the effects related to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan had no impact on suppliers, subcontractors, or its own operations.

With Japanese customers shifting more of their cell production to Taiwan, PV Crystalox experienced increased wafer shipments to Taiwan. Shipments to the island increased fourfold over 2009 and represented 11% of revenues in 2010, compared to only 2.9% in 2009. In 2011, PV Crystalox expects Taiwan’s share of sales to increase two- to threefold from 2010 levels.

Overall shipments to Asia accounted for 74.7% of revenue, compared to 25.3% of revenue coming from Europe and the U.S.

“We have continued to execute against our strategy in 2010; we have grown our customer base and expanded geographically with China and Japan now of similar importance; we have reduced wafer production costs by 20% ahead of our stated 15% target; and have continued with the planned expansion of our ingoting facilities in line with the anticipated demand from our growing customer base,” commented Iain Dorrity, CEO of PV Crystalox. 

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