The second quarter in particular (revenue EUR 79.3 million, as against EUR 124.2 million in previous year) saw a substantial decline in market prices which temporarily weighed on revenue and earnings, the PV company reports. The fall in prices was triggered by the Italian government effectively suspending financial incentives for solar systems for 2-3 months in March. In Germany, too, demand has remained weak in the year to date.
Although CENTROSOLAR has succeeded in increasing its market shares and even slightly expanding its sales volumes for solar modules and complete systems in its core activities, it has nevertheless seen its revenue as a whole fall.
Core business operations in Europe remained profitable despite drop in market prices; costs of expansion in North America and expansion of product range led to EBIT of EUR -4.9 million
The share of revenues outside of Germany was expanded from 49% to 63%. As well as having an impact on revenue, the falling prices also diminished the gross margin. This, combined with the costs of expansion in North America and costs of expanding the mounting systems product range, led to a negative first-half operating result of EUR -4.9 million compared with EUR 21.1 million in the first half of 2010. The operating result (EBIT) for the second quarter came to EUR 5.2 million compared with EUR 12.9 million in the previous year. Earnings per share were correspondingly EUR -0.32 for the first half (prior-year period EUR 0.64).
The core business operations in Europe remained profitable despite the weak market. However, it was no longer able to make good the start-up losses from expansion in North America and the costs for expanding the mounting systems product range.
Price cuts now offer the prospect of attractive rates of return for operators of PV systems; rising interest in roof solar systems in Italy
At the same time, the company is able to look to the second half of 2011 with optimism: Although the overall market situation has not yet improved noticeably, the price cuts now offer the prospect of attractive rates of return for operators of photovoltaic (PV) systems; from the late summer on, this should translate into corresponding demand especially for roof-mounted solar systems – CENTROSOLAR’s core product. Furthermore, CENTROSOLAR has been registering rising interest in roof solar systems in Italy since June, now that they are granted preferential financial incentives there. Revenue has also been on the rise in the UK, Belgium and the USA.
Positive outlook for second half: full year revenues expected at EUR 330 to 380 million with a positive operating result
Because the purchase prices of solar cells have also fallen, CENTROSOLAR stands to benefit from its flexible purchasing strategy. With market prices currently stabilizing, a marked improvement on the earnings side is also expected in the second half.
For the year as a whole, CENTROSOLAR expects revenue of EUR 330 to 380 million with a positive operating result