REC ASA: Trading update
Sandvika, June 22, 2009, with reference to the previously announced NOK 4.5 billion rights issue, Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) releases the following trading update, which will be reflected in the rights issue prospectus expected to be published on or around June 29, 2009.
- Information on the implementation of the rights issue, including pricing, is expected to be determined after close of trading on June 22, 2009, together with signing of the final underwriting agreements which will ensure full subscription of the NOK 4.5 billion rights issue. The subscription period is anticipated to take place between June 29, 2009 and July 13, 2009. The last day of trading of the shares inclusive subscription rights will be today June 22, 2009. Settlement is expected around July 21, 2009 and trading of the new shares is expected to start on or about July 23, 2009.
- On June 19, the Company received an updated consent letter from its bank syndicates to amend certain financial covenants. REC has also secured a NOK 3 billion debt package consisting of a new loan facility, an adjusted repayment structure and a bridge loan that will run until a REC bond is launched at a later stage. An additional loan facility of up to NOK 1 billion is presently in negotiation, potentially increasing the debt package to NOK 4 billion. Consequently, the aggregate gross liquidity effect from this refinancing, both debt and equity, will be in the range of NOK 7.5 - 8.5 billion. Furthermore, with reference to the resolution adopted at the extraordinary general meeting on June 5, 2009, REC may issue convertible bonds during the second half of 2009. This will ensure further robustness and flexibility, and enable REC to exploit strategic opportunities.
- Regarding REC Solar: The weakening of the solar market has continued so far into 2009 and REC Solar's sales prices for solar modules for the whole year of 2009 on average is currently expected to be down approximately 30 % compared to the average of 2008. As previously communicated, production is currently running well below design capacity.
- Regarding REC Wafer: REC Wafer sells a substantial portion of its production on long-term contracts (4-8 years), generally with predetermined volumes and prices. Due to the current market situation, REC Wafer has received inquiries from a majority of its customers with long-term contracts concerning possible adjustments to delivery volumes and/or prices. It may be in REC Wafer's interest to fully exercise its rights under the long-term sales contracts in order to protect its position. On the other hand, it could be in REC Wafer's commercial interest to, among other things, make individual adjustments to the timing of shipments and/or prices in these sales contracts, taking into consideration its long standing relationship with key customers. Any adjustments will have an effect on EBITDA in the relevant period. REC Wafer has so far only made certain minor adjustments.
- Regarding REC Silicon: The Company announced in April 2009 that it had encountered initial problems in the ramp-up of Silicon III. REC, in close cooperation with its contractor, has redesigned the discharge pipe and continues to test the implemented solution, which so far has performed according to simulations. Generally, however, interruptions must be expected in ramping up large complex chemical plants, which implement new innovative technologies. There is presently no change to the already communicated ramp-up schedule of Silicon III.
- Regarding the Singapore Project: The project continues to trend towards a lower capital expenditure compared to the initial investment case, reflecting a less heated construction market. The new plant is expected to be more cost competitive than REC's existing facilities, ramp-up is expected to start in the first and second quarter of 2010 and will be done in line with market demand and prudent working capital management.
- Overall, average analysts' estimate reviews for 2009 published so far in June seem to cater for these issues.
REC is the leading vertically integrated player in the solar energy industry. REC Silicon and REC Wafer are among the world's largest producers of polysilicon and wafers for solar applications, and REC Solar is a rapidly growing manufacturer of solar cells and modules. REC Group had revenues of NOK 8 191 million and an operating profit of NOK 2 529 million in 2008. About 2 500 employees work in REC's worldwide organization. Please also see www.recgroup.com.