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© stevanovicigor-dreamstime.com Business | March 27, 2014

Significant drop in sales for SMA Solar

SMA Solar Technology sold PV inverters with an output of 5.4 GW in the fiscal year 2013 (2012: 7.2 GW). The demand for solar power systems worldwide increased by approximately 25% to over 40 gigawatts (GW) in 2013.

A 50% drop in the European market was more than compensated for by the extraordinarily strong demand in China and Japan. Roughly half of the newly installed photovoltaic power worldwide is accounted for by these two markets alone. In 2012, Japan and China accounted for approximately 20% of the global market. As a specialist for PV system technology, SMA is particularly affected by the strong shift in regional demand. The major decline in demand in Europe and high price pressure reduced SMA sales in the reporting period by 36.3% to EUR 932.5 million (2012: EUR 1.5 billion). The international share increased to 71.0% (2012: 56.3%). In such a short period of time, SMA was unable to compensate for the decline in European demand through the internationalization it has been pursuing for many years. In the key growth markets China and Japan, countries with high market entry barriers, SMA is still in the early stages of the market development process. The earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to EUR -89.1 million. The EBIT margin was –9.6% (2012: 7.0%). EBIT includes one-time items of EUR 41 million for inventory and accounts receivables write-downs, EUR 25.1 million for severance payments as well as start-up losses of EUR 15 million for the Chinese subsidiary Zeversolar. The consolidated earnings amounted to EUR -66.9 million in the reporting period (2012: EUR 75.1 million). Total assets fell by 5% to EUR 1.26 billion (2012: EUR 1.33 billion). Despite high losses, SMA remains financially sound with net liquidity of more than EUR 308 million and an equity ratio of almost 58%. “For the first time in the company’s history, we had to post a high annual net loss due to the dramatic decline in the European market. Despite this difficult situation, the SMA Managing Board has not reduced investments in technology development. Expenditure on development of future products was again at more than EUR 100 million. By this, we defend our position as a technological market leader in a highly competitive market. We have also raised our global presence through new companies abroad and with the acquisition of the Chinese inverter manufacturer Zeversolar. To be able to further improve our competitiveness in the medium term, SMA intends to build a strategic partnership with Danfoss. Overall, we are of course not pleased with these financial results. Nevertheless, we are convinced that we have laid the strategic foundation for sustainable financial improvements,” explained Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Pascal Urbon.
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