Q-Cells produced 940MW of c-Si solar cells in 2010: revenue €1.35 billion

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Strong production execution across c-Si solar sales and modules, coupled to CIGS thin-film module production increases, helped Q-Cells return sales of €1.35 billion in 2010, up 70% compared to the previous year. Preliminary results highlight cell production increased by 84% to 1,014 MW, which included 940MW in solar cells and 74MW in CIGS thin-film solar modules. Total production capacity for the year reached 1.3GW with capacity of Q-Cells manufactured polycrystalline modules with reaching 400MW.

“As previously announced, we once again achieved positive results in the fourth quarter of 2010, despite significantly higher purchasing prices for wafers and further materials in the solar industry,” commented Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE. “Our figures show that we have made the right strategic decision by adding products and systems with stronger margins to our portfolio. We will continue to consistently implement this strategy, especially as the market is more challenging in 2011.”

Sales in the fourth quarter were reported at €387 million, up 54% on the previous year, an almost matching the results of the third quarter of 2010, which were particularly strong.

Guidance for 2011 would be given at its annual review on March 29th. Q-Cells noted in a conference call with financial analysts that it would be aggresively expanding module production both inhouse and via sub-contracting in 2011.

The operating income (EBIT) for the year was €82.3 million, which was above guidance of €75 million to €80 million. EBIT for the fourth quarter stood at  €27.7 million. Net income including income from discontinued operations amounted to €18.9 million.

Q-Cells noted that in the fourth quarter it managed to reduce its net working capital, particularly in the systems business. The company had around €340 million in net working capital at the end of the year, down from €646 million as of 30 September 2010. Q-Cell’s net debt went down by more than half to €330 million.

Improved business was primarily attributed to the expansion of the modules business and the systems business for medium-sized roof-top systems and small ground-mounted systems, which were responsible for sales of €363 million, or 27% of annual sales. Module sales in the fourth quarter were higher than in previous quarters, adding to the better than expected results.

Emphasis in the preliminary figures was therefore placed on demonstrating Q-Cells growing module and systems business, having secured market access in 15 countries. Expansions took place in France and Italy and 120MW of projects awarded in the U.S. country offices were also established in Australia, India and the UK in 2010.

Q-Cells recorded an export rate of just over 50 % in 2010, while the rate in the fourth quarter was reported as 67%.

In the fourth quarter, c-Si cell shipments were 161MW, down from 186MW in the third quarter of 2010. Crystalline module shipments were 80MW, up from 26MW in the third quarter. CIGS module shipments reached 16MW,  more than double the 7MW shipped in the previous quarter.

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