SMA loss grows as sales slump

Pierre-Pascal Urbon of SMA Solar Technology

SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon

Germany's SMA Solar saw its net loss almost triple in the first half of the year, as it was hit by a slump in demand in Europe and ongoing pressure on prices.

The PV inverter group suffered a 26% loss in sales in the January to June period, to €341.2m ($456m) from €461.5m at the same stage in 2013.

SMA Solar sold 2GW of inverters, compared to the 2.5GW it managed in the first six months of 2013, noting that in Germany alone demand fell 40% year-on-year.

The group also reported negative earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) of €62.4m, almost doubling the €23.3m deficit it reported last year. Its net loss reached €44.9m, compared to a €16.2 loss in the first half of 2013.

"After the modest development in the first half of the year, SMA expects a significant increase in global demand for PV inverters in the coming months, especially in North America, Japan, Great Britain and China," said SMA Solar.

"By significantly reducing the cost of sales, optimising our processes and making extensive structural adjustments across the entire organisation, we have also satisfied all the conditions required to achieve a return to profitability in the next year," said SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon.

SMA confirmed its sales and earnings forecast for the 2014 fiscal year as amended in July. It now predicts sales of €850m to €950m for the group.

"In the best-case scenario, we also expect to break even in terms of operating earnings. At the lower end of the sales forecast, we anticipate a loss of approximately €45m," it said.

The forecast, however, does not take account of any one-off expenses from the reduction of 600 jobs it announced in July.

SMA yesterday revealed that it is taking over the European O&M business of compatriot Phoenix Solar.

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