SMA achieves a significant increase in sales and a record profit in 2008 based on preliminary figures and resolves to expand its Managing Board

  • Sales more than doubled to c. EUR 680 million
  • EBIT rose c. 170 % to more than EUR 160 million
  • Dividend of EUR 1.00 planned for 2008
  • Financing of further growth secured through capital generated by the IPO and a positive cash flow
  • Managing Board to be expanded to five members
  • Chief Financial Officer Reiner Wettlaufer moves to Supervisory Board

Niestetal, 19/02/2009 – SMA Solar Technology AG (FWB: S92) has completed the most successful financial year in company history with new record sales and profit.

Based on preliminary figures the company saw sales more than double to c. EUR 680 million in 2008 over EUR 327 million for the previous year as a result of the high demand for SMA solar inverters. During the reporting period the EBIT rose by c. 170 % to more than EUR 160 million (previous year: EUR 59 million). The EBIT margin of SMA thus increased from 18 % in 2007 to more than 24 %. In view of the excellent development of business the Managing and Supervisory Boards will recommend to the annual general meeting a dividend of EUR 1.00 per share to be paid out. SMA will present the complete financial statements at the annual press conference on March 31, 2009 in Frankfurt am Main.

“We achieved outstanding results in 2008 while simultaneously expanding our market and technology leadership and our share of exports,” said Günther Cramer, Chief Executive Officer of SMA Solar Technology AG.

The further development of the photovoltaic markets is currently difficult to predict in view of the situation on the financial markets. In recent months the market for photovoltaic modules has increasingly turned from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market with considerably decreasing module prices. This development however has not affected solar inverter manufacturers like SMA, because this market segment has been characterized by intense competition from the very beginning. SMA has responded very well to these competitive conditions at an early stage.

“The photovoltaic market will continue to develop dynamically in particular with regard to technological innovations aiming at cost reduction and with regard to further internationalization. SMA will therefore continue to expand its R&D activities and position itself in new markets with the clear goal to achieve market leadership,” Günther Cramer added. “In order to ensure that the necessary management resources are available, the Managing Board will be strengthened through the addition of executives with extensive managerial experience at SMA.”

The Supervisory Board therefore resolved today to expand the Managing Board from four to five members combined with a partial realignment of duties. In addition, the contracts of company founders Günther Cramer and Peter Drews, which were set to expire in August 2009, will be extended through 2011. This move ensures full continuity at the managerial level.

In the context of this realignment, the strategy and development function will be divided. CEO Günther Cramer will concentrate on the development of corporate strategy and human resources. Both of these segments are destined to play a vital role in the future success of SMA.

Roland Grebe (48), graduate engineer, will become the new Managing Board member in charge of research and development. Roland Grebe has been with SMA for 24 years and is currently a senior manager in charge of the development of important product lines. In creating a Managing Board position with sole responsibility for R&D, SMA is laying the best groundwork for the future expansion of its R&D capacities as well as for expanding the company’s technological leadership.

In line with his personal plans for the future CFO Reiner Wettlaufer has decided to not extend his contract as Chief Financial Officer but to seek election to the Supervisory Board at the 2009 annual general meeting. He will maintain close ties to the company as a Supervisory Board member and as a major shareholder on a longterm basis.

“Together with the two other company founders, Reiner Wettlaufer has helped SMA become one of the best companies in the photovoltaic industry through outstanding personal engagement,” said Dr. Erik Ehrentraut, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “He has managed the company’s finances in an exemplary manner throughout the company’s history, in particular during phases of extreme growth and international expansion, and he had a key role in preparing SMA for its successful initial public offering in June 2008. The Supervisory Board would like to express its sincere gratitude for his outstanding performance and personal involvement for over 28 years.”

Mr. Wettlaufer will be replaced by Pierre-Pascal Urbon, who currently serves as Managing Board member in charge of sales, marketing and investor relations. The highly experienced financial and capital markets expert will combine the finance and investor relations functions.

Marko Werner (45), graduate engineer, will succeed Pierre-Pascal Urbon as Chief Marketing & Sales Officer. Marko Werner has been with SMA for 22 years and currently serves as senior vice president in charge of groupwide sales.

Effective June 11, 2009, on the day after the annual general meeting, the Managing Board of SMA Solar Technology AG will therefore consist of the following five members: Günther Cramer (CEO; strategy & human resources), Peter Drews (Chief Operating Officer), Roland Grebe (Chief Technology Officer), Pierre-Pascal Urbon (Chief Financial Officer) and Marko Werner (Chief Marketing & Sales Officer).

Managing Board members Günther Cramer and Peter Drews have also announced that they will seek election to the Supervisory Board in 2011 following the expiration of their new two-year contracts. All company founders will maintain their ties to the company as major shareholders and intend to hold on to their stakes in the long term.

The newly expanded Managing Board of SMA will continue to pursue the company’s successful strategy characterized by a complete product range, clear technological leadership, a global presence with sales and service outlets located worldwide and a high degree of production flexibility.

About SMA Solar Technology AG
SMA is worldwide market leader for photovoltaic inverters, a key component of all photovoltaic solar power plants. The SMA Group is based in Niestetal, near Kassel, and is represented by foreign subsidiaries in eight different countries on four continents. The Group employs a staff of over 2,500 (incl. temporary staff). SMA produces a broad range of inverters, offering the right inverter for every type of photovoltaic module in use and for all sizes of photovoltaic plant. The product range covers both inverters for photovoltaic plants connected to the grid and inverters for off-grid systems. The company has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange Prime Standard (S92) since June 27, 2008; since September 22, 2008 the company's shares have been listed on the TecDAX. In the past, SMA received a number of awards for its excellence as an employer.

Press contact:
SMA Solar Technology AG

Volker Wasgindt
Head of Media and Association Relations
Sonnenallee 1
34266 Niestetal
Tel. +49 561 9522-11 21
Fax.+49 561 9522-11 03

Investor Relations:
Anna Raudszus (Institutional Investors/Analysts)
Phone: +49 561 9522-11 72

Julia Damm (Private Investors)
Phone: +49 561 9522-22 22

Sonnenallee 1
34266 Niestetal
Tel. +49 561 9522-22 22
Fax.+49 561 9522-22 23

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