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SolarWorld AG increases foreign share in 2011 and readies itself for more international competition

22-03-12

Today, the consolidated financial statements of SolarWorld AG were published for fiscal year 2011 and substantiated the preliminary figures previously announced. Business in modules and components rose 14 percent, whereas external shipments for wafers dropped. The foreign sales quota rose to 68 percent in 2011, compared with 59 percent in 2010, in line with the company's globalization strategy. SolarWorld surpassed the 1 billion euro mark in revenues for the third year in a row. However, the company generated € 1.047 billion in revenues in fiscal year 2011, compared to € 1.305 in the previous year—a decline of 19.8 percent due to the fall in prices. Groupwide earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dropped to € 219.3 million, compared with € 281.3 in 2010.

Market capitalization in 2011 fell substantially below SolarWorld's equity reported on the balance sheet. As a consequence, property, plant and equipment were tested for impairment. This test identified a net impairment of € 314.5 million. The impairments were primarily due to the production sites in Germany and the United States. The company's earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was greatly affected by the impairment charges and amounted to € -233.2 million (in 2010: € 192.8 million). Company earnings for 2011 amounted to € -299.3 million (in 2010: € 87.3 million).

Impairment summary

EBIT

€ -233.2 million

+ net impairment loss for property, plant and equipment (PPA)

€ 314.5 million

EBIT adjusted by impairment loss of PPA

€ 81.3 million

Other extraordinary effects

€ -51.2 millon

Adjusted EBIT

€ 30.1 million

"The year 2011 was difficult for the solar industry and, for SolarWorld, an unsatisfactory one. Our 2011 earnings were affected primarily by global excess capacities and the tremendous decline in prices that ensued," CEO Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck commented. "In addition, we were confronted by the insecure conditions of the regulatory framework and economies in our core markets, in general." Strengthening competitiveness In the fiscal year 2011, SolarWorld decommissioned older production lines in the U.S. and Germany and began to focus on its state-of-the-art systems at the fully integrated production sites in Freiberg and Hillsboro. These restructuring measures, in addition to further measures to improve efficiency, helped SolarWorld to considerably cut costs in 2011. However, the substantial savings could not entirely compensate for the global decline in prices. "China's dumping prices for modules and its illegal subsidies are to blame for the massive decline in prices," explains Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck. U.S. subsidiary SolarWorld Industries America Inc., with the support of the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), filed its trade cases in in the U.S. in October 2011. The U.S. Department of Commerce is investigating China's subsidy programs and the pricing policies of Chinese manufacturers. A preliminary decision was made on March 20, 2012, to put into effect anti-subsidy duties on Chinese solar power products. In addition, a decision on the U.S. anti-dumping measures is expected in May. Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck: "We are confident that we can restore the conditions of fair competition in this manner." International positioning SolarWorld will continue to strengthen its international positioning as a leader in quality with a strong brand in 2012. To this end, SolarWorld aims at further increasing the foreign sales quota in 2012 sales. The company plans to profit primarily from business in all-in-one kits for small and mid-sized roof-integrated systems in its home markets of Germany and the U.S. as well as its export markets in Europe. SolarWorld has already gained a competitive edge in this area by offering complete and customer-oriented solutions. Furthermore, SolarWorld has plans to develop new foreign markets such as India and the Gulf states. Results from company research and development efforts will soon be transferred to production processes to further improve efficiency. "Overall, SolarWorld is in a good position to meet the international solar power business head-on," says Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck. Forecast for 2012 The forecast for 2012 at SolarWorld AG foresees slow growth on the global market, as the excess capacities in China continue to increase. The decision by the German Bundestag on the amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act will play a substantial role, which will also send strong signals to other markets. The uncertain framework conditions make it difficult to estimate future sales. SolarWorld AG sees an opportunity to increase shipments of solar modules compared to 2011. The indicators point to a decline in revenues in light of these market conditions and under the assumption that prices will continue to fall.

About SolarWorld AG: The SolarWorld AG Group (ISIN: DE0005108401) is a worldwide leader in offering brand-name, high quality, crystalline solar-power technology. Its strength is its fully integrated solar production. From silicon as the raw material through wafers, cells and modules all the way to turn-key solar systems of all sizes, the group combines all stages of the solar value chain. The central business activity is selling quality modules into the installation and distribution trades and crystalline wafers to the international solar cell industry. Group headquarters are located in Bonn, Germany, with sales sites in Singapore, South Africa, Spain, France as well as in the U.S. state of California. The group´s largest production facilities operate in Freiberg, Germany and Hillsboro in the U.S. state of Oregon. Sustainability is the basis of the group strategy. Under the name Solar2World, the group supports care projects using off-grid solar-power solutions in developing countries, exemplifying sustainable economic development. Worldwide, SolarWorld employs about 3,300 people. SolarWorld AG has been quoted on the stock exchange since 1999 and today is listed on, among others, the TecDAX and ÖkoDAX as well as in the sustainability index NAI.

Online version of the 2011 Annual Group Report:
http://annualgroupreport2011.solarworld.de
2011 key figures:
http://annualgroupreport2011.solarworld.de/indicators
Photos from the 2011 Financial Statements Press Conference (after 2 p.m. CET):
http://www.solarworld.de/en/press/visual-material/current-photos/



 
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