International sales, primarily from a strong market demand in the US, helped SolarWorld increase shipments and revenue, while holding margins well in what has become a difficult second quarter for the PV industry. SolarWorld’s solar product shipments were 196MW, up marginally from 185MW in the first quarter of 2011. Revenue reached €302.1 million, up considerably from €233.0 million in Q1. The gross margin held up better than many peers at 30%, though income of €9.9 million was below the €12.5 million posted in the first quarter.
“We have stood our ground well,” noted Frank Asbeck, chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG. “You have to remember that the German solar market in 2010 was characterized by a politically induced special demand with strong pull-forward effects.”
Asbeck expects a strong pick-up in PV installations in Germany in the second half of the year. Though not expecting installs to reach the record levels set in 2010 of over 7GW, Asbeck does expect installs to exceed 4GW, noting less than 2GW was installed in Germany in the first half of 2011.
Gerard Reid, Jeffries International’s equity analyst, said in a research note regarding SolarWorld’s results that he ‘suspected the operating result continued to benefit from higher-than-expected write-backs of wafer prepayments included in the other operating income. However, no breakdown was listed in the interim report.’
The US market made a significant contribution to 2Q results, with 69% of shipments coming from American business, up from 47% in the previous quarter.
SolarWorld reported first half-year revenue of €535.0 million, down from €608.4 million in the same period a year ago, a 21% decline. EBIT amounted to €68.1 million in the first half of the year, down from €83.7 million.