Q-cells solar firm loses finance head as results continue to slide

Q-cells solar firm loses finance head as results continue to slide
Photo: DPA
Germany’s biggest solar panel company Q-cells lost its finance chief as it announced even worse results than had been expected on Monday, confirming the collapse of its business after a boom year in 2010.

Hopes of a German manufacturing renaissance led by Green technology will not be boosted by the unremitting gloom from Q-cells which was last year the tenth biggest solar panel manufacturer in the world.

The third quarter of this year saw turnover down to €228.8 million, little more than half of the €402 million in the same period last year. The 2010 third quarter profit of €36.7 million had been turned into an operating loss of €47.3 million, the company announced on Monday.

Analysts had expected a clear downturn in turnover, but not such a large one. Chief Financial Officer Marion Helmes also announced on Monday she was leaving the firm on her own request.

Turnover of around €1 billion for the full year is still expected, while the operating result is expected to be a three-digit million loss.

Q-cells was launched on the German TecDax stock index at the end of 2005, and from 2007 has been in the green Dax, the Handelsblatt reported on Monday. By the end of that year, its share price had rocketed from €20 to €80, and then in the summer of 2008, to a peak of more than €97.

The company was considered a great example of how to run a new green-tech company. A dip on the stock markets in 2009 turned into a collapse through the whole of the following year, landing at less than €2.50 a share in December 2010.

And despite a good business year in 2010, including a return to profit and an end of year balance sheet that exceeded its own as well as analysts’ expectations, the share prices refused to recover, hitting lows of €0.50 in March 2010.

The company’s performance followed its share prices down, and this year fell into loss, despite an increase in sales. Analysts have started talking about a possible bankruptcy, while last month 250 jobs were cut at the company’s headquarters.

The Local/DPA/hc

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