SolarWorld may post €550m loss

Embattled German PV equipment maker SolarWorld AG said it expects to record a loss after tax of between €520m and €550m ($679m-$717m) for 2012.

The announcement sent shares in the company plunging 32% to €0.629 by mid-morning in Frankfurt.

“One fifth of the losses are due to negative effects on earnings in connection with business developments in 2012, and in the amount of four fifths due to adjusted valuations for shares in affiliated businesses and for subsidiaries/loans,” the company said in an statement last night to the German stock market regulator.

SolarWorld still has not published full financial figures for 2012, after it postponed their release amid negotiations with creditors about a restructuring of its debt.

The release of the company’s annual report was scheduled for March 21, but it says it plans to release full-year figures later this month.

SolarWorld lost €45.8m in the third quarter of 2012, the most recent period for which numbers have been provided – having lost nearly €300m during the whole of 2011.

The company said it made Wednesday's announcement after its loss reached half of its nominal share capital.

According to current estimates, SolarWorld’s equity capital for 2012 will amount to “approximately negative €20m to negative €50m,” the company said in the statement.

It stressed that any balance sheet adjustments in the context of the annual audit may “significantly modify” the estimates given.

SolarWorld officials were not available for further comment early today.

 Like many Western PV manufacturers, SolarWorld’s business has been decimated over the past few years by the flood of ever-cheaper modules from Asia, many of which it believes have been dumped at below-market prices by companies unfairly propped up by the Chinese government.