In a difficult market environment, centrotherm photovoltaics AG reports EUR 255.4 million of new order intake in the first quarter of 2012 (prior-year period:EUR 224.3 million). Following a related advance payment, this new order intake figure now includes the EUR 227.1 million order awarded by Sonelgaz to construct a fully integrated solar module factory in Algeria. The sector and financing situation remains tense, and continues to be reflected in business trends. The Group generated EUR 82.5 million of revenue in the first three months of this year (previous-year period: EUR 189.3 million). The Group reported a EUR 42.9 million operating loss at the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) level (previous year: EUR 17.7 million profit). The order book position amounted to EUR 508.2 million as of March 31, 2012 (December 31, 2011: EUR 423.0 million).
"The results reflect the market turbulence that we also have to contend with," commented Dr. Thomas Riegler, CFO of centrotherm photovoltaics AG. "The sector is experiencing its most severe crisis to date, and consolidation is fully underway. For this reason, we are pushing full steam ahead with the implementation of our ct focus restructuring program, which comprises extensive measures to secure earnings and liquidity. To return centrotherm to the path of sustainable profitability our declared objective is a streamlined and efficient organizational structure, and a strategic orientation to our technological core competencies and products especially in the Solar cell & module segment, and in the semiconductor area. We are assuming that there will not be a significant improvement to the current situation in the first half of 2012."
In its Silicon & Wafer segment, centrotherm photovoltaics achieved revenue of EUR 37.2 million with the sale of silicon production technology and systems (previous-year period: EUR 29.3 million). The segment reported a EUR 0.2 million operating loss at the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) level (previous-year period: EUR 2.2 million profit). The segment's order book position stood at EUR 195.5 million as of March 31, 2012 (December 31, 2011: EUR 176.1 million). During the period under review, the risk increased that litigation entailing a triple-digit amount in millions of euros might arise relating to a major project. No further provisions have been formed to date since the Management Board, on the basis of its current assessment, is assuming that the company will incur no larger related charges due to contractual agreements. In its Solar Cell & Module segment, revenue amounted to EUR 37.2 million (prior-year period: EUR 154.9 million). The segment reported a EUR 32.2 million loss at the EBIT level (previous-year period: EUR 19.3 million profit). This segment's order book stood at EUR 306.3 million at the end of the first quarter (December 31, 2011: EUR 234.6 million). The Thin Film Module segment generated EUR 8.1 million of revenue (previous-year period: EUR 5.1 million). The segment reported a EUR 10.5 million loss at the EBIT level (prior-year period: EUR 3.8 million loss). The Thin Film Module segment reported an order book position of EUR 6.4 million (December 31, 2011: EUR 12.3 million).
"We are not assuming a significant improvement to the current situation in the first half of 2012," commented CFO Mr. Riegler. "We nevertheless also regard continued cost pressure in the photovoltaic industry as an opportunity because our customers are focusing on highly efficient technologies and production systems that deliver competitive advantages. We also identify medium- to long-term potentials from photovoltaics due to global energy demand growth and the energy revolution that has already started."