* Company aims for operating profit next year
* Says 2013 sales 456 mln euros vs 606 mln in 2012
* Says 2013 net loss 228 mln euros vs 606 mln loss in 2012
(Adds details on new shareholder structure, background)
FRANKFURT/BONN, March 27 Germany's SolarWorld
said on Thursday it was on track to return to profit
next year, a sign that the solar panel maker is recovering after
a radical restructuring in which Qatar became a shareholder.
SolarWorld and others in the solar power industry have come
under pressure from Asian competition as well as weak demand and
green energy subsidy cuts by cash-strapped governments.
SMA Solar, Germany's largest solar group by sales
and the world's biggest maker of solar inverters, reported its
biggest ever annual net loss on Thursday.
"This annual press conference could run under the headline
'Hooray, we're still alive'," Chief Executive Frank Asbeck told
journalists after publication of the company's 2013 annual
SolarWorld has previously said it expects to return to an
operating profit next year, compared with an expected loss of up
to 35 million this year. It expects revenues of more than 680
million euros this year and of more than 1 billion in 2016.
"We will do everything to return our company to
profitability. The start to 2014 has been a promising one and we
are on track," Chief Financial Officer Philipp Koecke said in a
SolarWorld, once Germany's largest solar panel maker by
sales, was forced to restructure after generous government
subsidies led to a glut of solar equipment, throwing a large
number of industry heavyweights, including Q-Cells,
Conergy and Solon, into insolvency.
In SolarWorld's restructuring, completed last month,
existing shareholders were pushed out as part of a
debt-to-equity swap, and Qatar took a 29 percent stake.
Last year, SolarWorld's revenues dropped by a quarter to
455.8 million euros ($628 million), even though shipments were
almost the same. Its net loss narrowed to 228.3 million euros
from 606.3 million.
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Maria Sheahan in Frankfurt
and Anneli Palmen in Bonn; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Jane