September 19 (Solar) – UK-based PV Crystalox Solar Plc (LON:PVCS) will make a decision on the use of its cash holdings by the end of 2018, it said on Friday, while reporting interim results.
"In view of the Group's substantial cash position following receipt of the arbitration settlement, the Board is continuing to explore options for the future of the Group in order to maximise shareholder return. Options include a return of cash to the shareholders, the acquisition of an existing business or a combination of the alternatives," said chief executive Iain Dorrity.
The company's net cash position at the end of the first half of 2018 was EUR 39.6 million (USD 46.3m).
PV Crystalox is a maker of multicrystalline silicon wafers for the solar industry, but it stopped wafer production during the first half and now focuses on the cutting of glass and quartz. After discontinuing its UK manufacturing operations last year, the company has now also terminated wafer production in Germany, in line with a previous announcement. A buyer for the business could not be found in view of the deteriorating market conditions and a restructuring was needed with "extensive job losses" in May 2018. The restructured operation has about 20 employees and focuses on the cutting of glass and quartz for the semiconductor and optics industries. "Very preliminary discussions" have been held on transferring the business to the existing management team.
In the first half of 2018, PV Crystalox's revenues fell 51% year-over-year to EUR 6.2 million as it sold fewer wafers. Gross loss expanded to about EUR 0.9 million from around EUR 0.3 million, while profit before taxes improved to EUR 2.7 million from a loss of EUR 5.4 million a year ago.
(EUR 1 = USD 1.170)