Q-Cells turns a corner: guides increased shipments and revenue

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Reporting a small profit for the second quarter and guiding higher shipments and revenue for 2010, Q-Cells may have turned the corner after a disastrous 2009. Revenue in the quarter reached €334 million, up from €232 million in the previous quarter. The company reported its first quarterly profit in over a year at €27 million. Both solar cell and module production increased significantly to 238MW, a 37% rise from 174MW in the first quarter of 2010. Q-Cells is expecting continued improvement in business operations through the rest of the year and guided higher revenue at between €1.1 billion and €1.3 billion.

The company noted that its Malaysia-based solar cell factory had almost doubled its production output in the quarter to nearly 100MW. The ramp of each line (150MW) is advancing ahead of plans. Q-Cells expects capacity to reach 600MW by the end of the third quarter of 2010.

However, exchange rates negatively impact manufacturing costs in Malaysia, which limited benefits of moving to a lower cost base.

Total cell capacity is now expected to reach 1.1GW by the end of the third quarter. Production location split will be 500MW capacity in Germany and 600MW in Malaysia.

CIGS thin-film module production at Solibro, Thalheim reached 17MW and is on track to reach capacity of 135MW by the end of 2010. Capacity stood at 30MW at the end of the second quarter. Solibro expects a planned monthly production rate of 9MW by the end of 2010. Thin-film module efficiencies averaged 11% in the quarter with highest efficiencies reported at 13%. Nedim Cen, CEO, said that Solibro was at breakeven and the company would continue to drive down costs.

As part of its business refocus, Q-Cells noted considerable module shipment traction since officially launching its Q.SMART modules at Intersolar Munich. The company reported shipments of 44MW and production is expected to reach 135MW by the end of 2010. Module shipments of between 100MW and 150MW are expected for the year.

“We have successfully largely concluded our restructuring. Yet, we will continue to systematically improve cost structures as we move forwards”, said Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE. “In the strategic transformation of the company we are concentrating on our strengths: the production of solar cells and modules, as well as the planning and creation of photovoltaics systems of various sizes. At the same time, we will have to further increase productivity and push ahead with the internationalisation of our business.”

Cen has also been given a five-year contract to run the company, after moving temporarily to the position after the departure of Anton Milner. The contract removes continued investor concerns about the leadership of the company.

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