Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (RNWEF.PK)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 20, 2010 8:00 a.m. ET


Ole Enger - President & CEO

Tore Torvund - EVP

Bjørn Brenna - EVP & CFO

Mikkel Tørud - VP & IRO


Einar Kilde Evensen - DnB NOR Markets

Anders Rosenlund - ABG Sundal Collier

Preben Rasch-Olsen - Carnegie


Ole Enger

Good morning everybody and welcome to the second quarter presentation for REC. Today we have an agenda. As we can see here from the slide, start with an market update and operational review. Thereafter, we have Tore Torvund here, who as you know, most of you, is in-charge of our silicon business in the U.S. An important part, very important part of the overall REC business, after having invested about $2 billion over there. He will update us on the development in Moses Lake as well as in Butte.

Thereafter, Bjørn, as normal will take us through the financials, and we will finish off by some remarks regarding how we see the outlook for the company.

Let us then start with the highlights. And let me start by stating that I think the second quarter was a relatively positive quarter for REC. I say, relatively positive, meaning that in absolute terms the results of course are far from satisfactory, but compared to the results of the last quarters, I do still think that the second quarter was quite positive.

It was positive because we do now see that operations are improving in all units. We see the results of the efforts and endeavors we have made over some time to improve operation by our operational excellence. We are definitely working hard to change the industrial culture of the company, striving for continuous improvement by much more systemic methodology throughout the organization. We do see this now starting to pay off.

In the second quarter, of course we also have been helped by a strong market, a very strong market. So demand for modules and the other products in the solar value chain have been quite strong through the quarter.

In terms of numbers, we had revenues about NOK 2.758 billion, which is up 17% from the first quarter. And as far as the EBITDA is concerned, we ended up with NOK 455 million, which is up 10% from the first quarter. It's also to be noticed that we started up in the second quarter our new silane plant in Moses Lake, which Tore will elaborate on further, later during the presentation. And as we all know, we completed the NOK 4 billion rights issue also during this quarter.

So these are the overall highlights. And as I said, overall, relatively positive compared to what we have experienced in the past.

Let's then go through the start with some more remarks related to the market. The demand for solar products have been, I would say, very strong in the second quarter, and continues to be very strong into the third quarter and hopefully for the rest of the year. And you will recall that the world looked quite pessimistic in the first half of 2009; second half turned out to be much better than anticipated.

We realized that in the beginning of 2010, and now we see how it's continuing into 2010, clearly demonstrating how strong the underlying forces in the market are. I think very few had anticipated this development of demand in the solar market.

Demand is very strong in Germany, but we also see very, very high growth in Italy, the Czech Republic, and other markets. The prices have been fairly stable. I mean, we had anticipated lower prices throughout the year, prices to decline quarter by quarter; this has not been the case. They have been much more stable than we had anticipated.

So for 2010, from a demand point of view, I don't think there is much more we could expect, and this is of course very important for REC, since we also in the third and fourth quarter, second as well, are ramping up Singapore to full speed. And of course many people, I presume was quite nervous about whether we would be able to place all the products into the market to find customers for the four, five times higher volumes we were going to produce in 2010 compared to 2009.

Now with the demand we see in the market we are quite relaxed about that part. So the strong demand couldn't have come at a better time. So far, regarding 2010, if we should dare to go a bit further into 2011, of course not only we but all analysts in the solar market has been so wrong in the past, so one should be very careful about making statements going forward.

I do still think that one has to be somewhat cautious for 2011, and especially in the first half of 2011. I mean, if you take Germany for example, to grow by 50% to 60-70% when the overall market is 2 gigawatt is something, but to grow with the same percentage when the market is 5 gigawatt is another thing.

And of course the same applies to some other markets. Italy is becoming very, very strong as well. So in order to keep the growth at the same pace going forward, we need new very strong markets. And one thing is absolutely for certain; supplies are going to increase year by year very steadily. And what we have seen this year is that we are back in a situation where silicon and also inverters, in fact are limiting the growth of the market.

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