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Business

SolarWorld losses mount amid industry gloom

Under pressure from low-cost panel makers in China, German solar industry bellwether SolarWorld increased its losses in the third quarter. The firm hopes to boost its fortunes by cutting costs and staff.

In the first nine months of 2012, SolarWorld ran up a net loss of 68.7 million euros ($87.3 million), which was considerably more than the 11-million-euro shortfall the German solar panel and equipment maker accumulated in the same period of 2011.

Revenue slumped a staggering 37.7 percent to 468 million euros, the largest German solar firm said Wednesday.

However, sales increased 13.3 percent in the period to a total of 431 megawatts of module capacity sold to customers worldwide. Slumping revenues amid rising sales are a sign of ongoing cut-throat competition in the global solar industry, stricken with overcapacity and low panel prices.

SolarWorld Chief Executive Frank Asbeck said that the company would aim to cut costs further and reduce staff to face off global rivals, notably from China. For the whole of 2012, Asbeck said he expected revenue to fall further and "significantly negative" earnings before taxes and interest (EBIT) resultS.

SolarWorld is currently spearheading a drive by Western solar firms seeking punitive tariffs to be slapped on Chinese solar imports. The companies accuse Chinese rivals such as Suntech Power and Trina Solar of price dumping, supported by lavish subsidies from the government in Beijing.

uhe/kms (Reuters, dpa)