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Oerlikon Q1 results hit by global recession but Oerlikon Solar brings hope

The Oerlikon Group was hit by the global recession in the first quarter (Q1) of 2009 with orders down 46% to CHF599 million, but Oerlikon Solar is set to recover by the second half of the year.

Oerlikon group sales fell by 42% year-on-year to CHF657m. In anticipation of a further deterioration, all business units developed contingency plans at the end of 2008.

In the first three months of 2009, the Oerlikon Group’s headcount was reduced by nearly 700 employees to a total number of 17,710. At group level almost 6000 employees are working shorter hours.

Oerlikon Solar

Oerlikon Solar’s sales were down by 32% to CHF51m. Orders received stood at CHF11m, down 40%, and orders on hand amounted to CHF390m, down 3%. The drops came as Oerlikon Solar clients delayed orders and investments for expansion.

Through shorter working hours for 200 employees and the redundancy of 60 positions, the solar segment is adjusting its capacities to the current situation. Investments in research and development are not affected by the downsizing, however, and the R&D roadmap to achieve grid parity in 2010 will continue as planned.

Oerlikon Solar anticipates that the conditions for financing will improve in the second half of 2009, and that by the end of the year normal business conditions with strong growth will return. Stimulus programmes and subsidies for renewable energy as announced could additionally increase demand.

The medium- and long-term market outlook for thin-film silicon solar modules with double digit growth rates remains unchanged, the company says, before adding “Oerlikon Solar is cautiously optimistic that ongoing customer negotiations will result in new orders during the course of the year.”

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity