Q-Cells Ups PV Production 80%, Income Up 138%

April 23, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Q-Cells AG continued growing in 2006, with production again increasing by 80% to 53.7 MWp, compared with 29.9 MWp for the same quarter last year. Sales rose by 116% to EUR 114 million, compared with EUR 52.8 million in the first quarter of 2005. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) grew 129% year-over-year to from EUR 10.5 million to EUR 24 million in the latest period. Net income grew disproportionately, rising 138% to EUR 15.5 million compared with EUR 6.5 million in the first quarter of last year.

"We are on an uninterrupted growth course, having reached global leadership in solar cell production in only five years," stated Anton Milner, CEO of Q-Cells, upon publication of the quarterly figures. "A secure supply of silicon, fast-growing demand on the world markets and continuous advancement of our technology and production processes will enable very good performance in 2006."

Based on the company's good performance in the first quarter of 2006 and its mostly secure supply of raw materials, Q-Cells has given an updated outlook for the current year. The company at present expects to increase production to approx. 255 MWp, leading to sales of approx. EUR 480 million, EBIT of approx. 100 million and net income of approx. EUR 65 million.

The world's second-largest producer of solar cells, Q-Cells plans to continue expanding production capacities in 2006. After completing production line IV, the company will create additional production capacity by expanding and optimizing lines I-IV. This should increase production capacity to 336 MWp (equal to a nominal capacity of 420 MWp) by the end of 2006. For 2007, a production increase to 316 MWp is anticipated.

This expansion of production capacity will be enabled by a contracted and secured supply of silicon and silicon wafers, the input materials for solar cell production. Q-Cells has already contracted for wafer and silicon supplies for a total capacity of 256 MWp in 2006.

Q-Cells also expects to continue to globalizing its business and diversify its customer base with the aim of increasing the export rate to over 50% by 2008. The company is concentrating its efforts on the strategically important markets of Southern Europe, North America and East Asia. In the Spanish market, for instance, Q-Cells has significantly expanded its position, and in North America the company has concluded major supply agreements for the first time with Day4Energy Inc. in Canada.