Centrosolar to sell glass unit

German PV group Centrosolar saw its share price hit a new low after revealing plans to pull the plug on its solar glass division and postponing its annual report, in response to an €89.4m ($114.9m) loss in 2012.

In February Centrosolar – which makes modules, glass and is a significant downstream integrator – unveiled a sweeping restructuring programme aimed at riding out the current industry downturn.

As part of that programme, Centrosolar said it would reduce output at its German glass facility. Together, its German and Chinese glass plants boast an annual capacity of 8 million sq metres.

But the Munich-based company now says it will discontinue its glass operations, which contributed 17% of its €227m of revenues last year.

All the other restructuring measures announced – including a plan for senior management to defer a significant portion of their remuneration – will be continued. The company has given no indication that it will sell or close its 350MW module plant in Wismar.

Earlier this month the European Commission formally launched an investigation of imports of solar glass from China, following ongoing investigations into alleged dumping and illegal subsidies.

Centrosolar cited "exceptionally high compilation and auditing requirements” in its decision to indefinitely postpone publication of its 2012 annual report.

Having made the announcement late on Monday, Centrosolar saw its shares plummet nearly 25% to €0.55 on 26 March – surpassing the low they reached last summer before a sustained rebound.

“Overall, the company cannot be satisfied with the earnings and financial situation,” it said in a statement.

However, the management “assumes” Centrosolar will pull through the industry crisis, arguing that it is “comparatively less of a loss-making venture” than many of its surviving competitors.