Nov 21, 2013 - French silicon-on-insulator wafers maker Soitec (EPA:SOI) saw the operating loss of its solar energy segment widen to EUR 101.1 million (USD 136m) in its first fiscal half to end-September.
A year ago the deficit was EUR 45 million. In a statement on Wednesday Soitec pointed out that the April-September 2013 result included only costs related to the production of nearly 20 MW of solar equipment for a park in South Africa. In order to book the related revenues and profits the company first needs the green light from the Department of Energy.
The solar segment’s gross margin was negative 33.2% in the first half of Soitec’s fiscal 2013/14. This compares to negative 20.5% a year before. Revenues fell to EUR 700,000 from EUR 4.2 million previously.
During the period, the company achieved a record efficiency of 44.7% with its four-junction solar cell at a concentration level of 297 suns. It also decided to discontinue production of special solar cells at its Freiburg site in Germany, which resulted in a total non-current charge of EUR 50.5 million for impairment, restructuring costs and tool set write-off.
Soitec’s consolidated net loss for the reporting period was EUR 159.9 million, as compared to EUR 132.3 million a year back. Operating loss expanded to EUR 141.2 million from EUR 126.4 million and revenues dropped to EUR 91 million from EUR 130 million. The company said it was well on the way to reach its 2015 target of returning to positive margin at the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) level in fiscal 2015/16.