German renewables in for dire Q3, gloomy outlook

FRANKFURT | Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:02pm EST

(Reuters) – Price declines, slowing demand and oversupply will be in focus when three of Germany’s top renewable companies report quarterly results on Monday that are expected to show the industry is far from escaping a deep structural crisis.

SolarWorld, Germany’s No.2 solar company by sales, peer Q-Cells as well as wind turbine maker Nordex are all expected to either post big losses or free-falling profits.

Weaker-than-expected demand in Germany, the world’s largest solar market, is seen hitting profits as Europe’s largest economy is constantly lowering the crucial subsidies the industry needs to be competitive with fossil-fuel based energy.

Industry bellwethers such as Germany’s SMA Solar, China’s Suntech and U.S.-based First Solar face price declines for solar modules of 40 percent this year, squeezing margins and leading most of them to cut their 2011 outlooks.

“We have already seen many profit warnings in the industry,” Deutsche Bank analyst Alexander Karnick said. “(Prices) continued to drop, demand has not picked up, margins deteriorate and inventories are building up.”

SolarWorld is expected to report a 55-percent drop in operating profit to 23.2 million euros ($31.5 million), while Q-Cells is seen swinging to an operating loss of 42 million for the third quarter.

Nordex is expected to report third-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) more than halved to 3.62 million euros, compared with a profit of 10.2 million in the year-earlier period.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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