* SolarWorld cuts 2011 sales outlook
* Q-Cells CFO resigns after Q3 misses consensus
* Nordex cuts outlook as crisis delays projects
* SolarWorld, Q-Cells shares fall
* Nordex shares up on better-than-expected Q3 EBIT
(Recasts, adds further background, details, updates shares)
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, Nov 14 Three of Europe's top
renewable energy companies became the latest victims of a global
collapse in prices, massive oversupply and governments slashing
subsidies in light of growing debt piles, echoing recent
comments from overseas peers.
SolarWorld, Q-Cells and Nordex
are among the latest renewable energy companies to be hit by a
mix of high inventories, slower demand and banks tightening
their purses regarding wind parks.
Solar companies in particular suffered as they ramped up
production last year to meet a surge in demand from Germany and
Italy where customers rushed to buy solar panels before
governments cut vital subsidies.
Both economies are reducing so-called feed-in tariffs to
make the solar sector more productive, and subsidies and prices
have been falling at a faster rate than manufacturing costs,
leading Germany's renewable elite to slash their 2011 outlooks.
Pressure on governments has also increased after debt
problems in the euro zone escalated, forcing governments to find
ways to save costs, including EU-paymaster Germany as well as
Italy, which last week pushed through an austerity package
demanded by the European Union.
"The sovereign debt crisis in Europe and rising equity
requirements imposed on banks have rendered financing of wind
farm projects more difficult again," German wind turbine maker
Nordex said on Monday, adding it now saw 2011 sales of 920
million euros, instead of 1 billion.
SolarWorld, Germany's No.2 solar company by sales, also cut
its outlook, saying it no longer expected 2011 revenue to reach
last year's 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion).
"In the entire market, the demand in the third quarter of
2011 developed worse than expected," Chief Executive Frank
Asbeck said, adding he saw prices for modules falling by another
10 percent in 2012 after a 40 percent drop this year, making
only single-digit margins possible.
NUCLEAR EXIT, CATASTROPHIC FINANCES
Q-Cells, once the world's largest maker of solar cells, said
finance chief Marion Helmes resigned following a
wider-than-expected quarterly operating loss.
"The lights go out at Q-Cells. The CFO is leaving the
sinking ship, EBIT is more than just weak and this all doesn't
look good for the company. Quite the opposite: the balance sheet
could be described as catastrophic," a trader said.
Along with peers such as First Solar, Suntech
and Yingli, Q-Cells has been hit by falling
prices while Germany's decision to pull out of nuclear power did
not translate into additional support to the industry.
In fact, analysts and industry experts see a return of
conventional power and imports rather than a wide-ranging
government-backed expansion of renewable power.
Shares in Q-Cells and SolarWorld were the biggest decliners
in Frankfurt's technology index, down 29 percent and 15 percent,
respectively at 1233 GMT.
Nordex shares, however, were flat as the company posted
higher-than-expected third-quarter EBIT of 9.4 million euros,
beating the 3.6 million average forecast in a Reuters poll.
(Additional reporting by Daniela Pegna and Anneli Palmen;
Writing by Christoph Steitz and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Dan
Lalor, Hans-Juergen Peters and Mike Nesbit)