Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 27 March 2012, Q.CELLS today published its unaudited annual results for the 2011 fiscal year. These results show that the company achieved sales in 2011 of EUR 1,023.1 million, thereby surpassing its target of over EUR 1 billion. In 2010, sales totalled EUR 1,354.2 million. EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) amounted to EUR -717.4 million in 2011 due to the unexpectedly difficult economic environment and extraordinary items, while in 2010 EBIT had come to EUR 82.3 million. Q.CELLS was therefore forced among others to revise down the value of tangible and intangible assets by EUR 398.5 million and take EUR 129.1 million in impairment charges on inventories. Following net profit fell from EUR 18.9 million in 2010 to EUR -845.8 million in 2011.
The company's net working capital was reduced from EUR 339.8 million at the end of 2010 to EUR 149.9 million at the end of the last fiscal year. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2011 came to EUR 304.9 million, in line with the forecast. As a result, net debt fell to EUR 431.8 million at the end of 2011, down from EUR 515 million at the end of Q3 2011. At the end of January 2012, Q.CELLS reported a loss in equity according to German GAAP (HGB) for the individual company Q-Cells SE. The executive board announced a loss of half of the share capital in compliance with legal requirements at an extraordinary general meeting held on 9 March 2012.
Production volumes for 2011 came to approx. 783 megawatt peak (MWp). Solar cells, of which about 60% were produced at the Malaysian production facilities, accounted for 717 MWp. The production of thin-film modules at the subsidiary Solibro in Germany amounted to 66 MWp. Besides that, crystalline modules with a total volume of 390 MWp were processed at external partners and at the in-house module production line at Bitterfeld-Wolfen.
Despite the decline of overall sales, the impact of the new Modules and Systems business units was considerable: module sales accounted for about 26%, while systems sales came to around 33%. Q.CELLS would have shown a much more severe fall in sales, if it had still operated as a pure play solar cells manufacturer, given a fall in production volumes for solar cells by 20 % and a fall in prices by 60 %. This shows that the strategic transformation to becoming a supplier of PV solutions was the right decision and delivers results.
The financial results are unaudited and therefore subject to potentially further changes. The complete annual report will most likely be published following the approval of the bondholders and shareholders of the proposed financial restructuring. Developments until the date of publication can result in a revision of the financial figures. The report at hand is based on the assumption that Q.CELLS will succeed in restructuring its financial obligations and in implementing the medium-term business plan to ensure its survival as a going concern.
Significant progress made in financial restructuring
Q.CELLS continues to progress the restructuring of the company's financial liabilities and has already reached a number of important milestones in this process. At the beginning of February 2012, the company reached an agreement in principle with main bondholders of all three outstanding convertible bonds. The restructuring plan entails that the owners of the convertible bonds originally due on 28 February 2012 will receive a cash payment of EUR 20 million after all parties have agreed to our financial restructuring plan and these measures have been implemented. Moreover, the concept provides that holders of convertible bonds due in 2012, 2014 and 2015 exchange their bonds for shares in the company as part of a debt-to-equity swap. A majority vote by bondholders had deferred the maturity of that convertible bond originally due on 28 February 2012 to 30 April 2012 to prepare the implementation steps required in the restructuring. In addition, the current planning foresees the distribution of available liquidity to the bondholders to the extent that liquidity exceeds certain minimum levels at the date the financial restructuring is completed.
Following, current shareholders will then hold 5 % of Q.CELLS shares. In addition, by exercising subscription rights shareholders will have the opportunity to increase their shareholding by up to 5 % via new cash contributions.
In order to successfully implement the planned measurements, the holders of the three convertible bonds must approve the proposed restructuring at further creditor meetings that are to be held in the course of April 2012. Afterwards, Q.CELLS will hold another extraordinary general meeting, likely to take place at the end of May or in June, where the company will recommend its shareholders to agree to the proposed capital cut and subsequent capital increase, thereby securing the companies continued viability.
Successfully restructuring the financial liabilities will enable Q.CELLS to free itself from the majority of its debt and create a solid balance sheet with adequate equity. As nearly debt-free company, Q.CELLS will be in a unique position in a continuous challenging market environment, to benefit from the high level of international growth predicted for the sector in the medium term. The company expects the implementation of the agreed measures for the restructuring of the financial liabilities to be completed at the end of 2012.
Q.CELLS expects another loss making year in 2012, following intense competitive pressure and consolidation. However, after successfully implementing the financial restructuring and medium-term business plan, Q.CELLS is expected to return to a positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) for the 2013 fiscal year.
The consequences of the changes in the German subsidies regime that are currently being discussed are very difficult to predict. Despite the expected negative impact on the business in Germany, it is the main objective to minimise the effects on Q.CELLS' income and financial position by strengthening the measures already taken. Current trends in purchasing and sales prices, limitations on subventions for open field photovoltaic installations and the movements on the euro-dollar exchange rate will, in our view, have a short-term impact, in particular on sales. However, the business plan prepared at the end of 2011 remains the basis of our planning.
Source: Q.Cells SE