SolarWorld banks on 2014 upswing

Embattled German PV group SolarWorld plans a massive increase in sales this year and a return to positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) if its current restructuring proceeds as planned.

“Whilst global demand for solar energy products is likely to continue to grow in 2014, prices will probably remain at the current level,” the company said as it released a medium-term plan for 2014 to 2016 as part of its financial restructuring.

“SolarWorld expects that market growth will also have an effect on its own sales development.”

SolarWorld says it is planning to increase shipments of modules and kits in 2014 by at least 40% from last year’s 548MW.

As a result of volume growth and a higher share of the system business, SolarWorld is planning on revenues of more than €680m for 2014 and an increase to more than €1bn in 2016.

The management board expects Ebitda to top €10m in 2014, as well as to reach a positive cash flow from operating activities.

The operating result (Ebit), however, is likely to remain negative during 2014, between minus €35m and minus €20m, the company says. For 2015, SolarWorld is expecting a positive operating result as well as further increases in revenues of more than 20%.

A prerequisite for implementing these plans is the successful implementation of already-approved measures to restructure the financial liabilities and balance sheet by the end of February 2014.

Under the current restructuring, about 55% of SolarWorld’s liabilities will be converted into shares in the reformulated company following a capital increase.

Qatar Solar Technologies will take a 29% equity stake in the revamped SolarWorld, while chief executive Frank Asbeck will buy 19.5% through a private investment.

Shareholders in the existing company will be left with only 5%.

Despite undergoing its own restructuring, SolarWorld in November said it will buy parts of Bosch’s solar business, including 700MW cell production capacity and 200MW of module production capacity in the eastern German city of Arnstadt.