SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA/FWB: S92) reported a positive business performance in the first half of 2016 in a market environment characterized by strong price pressure. The SMA Group’s sales increased by 15.1% to €494.1 million year on year (H1 2015: €429.3 million). EBIT was €39.3 million (H1 2015: €-14.9 million). The main earnings driver was the segment for large-scale PV power plants (Utility). The segment for commercial PV systems (Commercial) also reported a positive performance. Thanks to its international positioning, SMA is continuing to benefit from the growth on foreign photovoltaic markets. The international share of sales was 91.1% in the first six months of 2016 (H1 2015: 87.2%). From January to June 2016, SMA increased its sold PV inverter output by 22.9% to 3.9 GW (H1 2015: 3.2 GW).
As a result of increased sales volumes and the fixed cost reduction, EBITDA improved considerably in the first half of 2016 to €73.1 million (EBITDA margin: 14.8%; H1 2015: €21.3 million, 5.0%). Consolidated earnings amounted to €19.4 million (H1 2015: €-21.4 million). Earnings per share thus amounted to €0.56 (H1 2015: €-0.62).
Gross cash flow improved considerably in the reporting period to €60.9 million (H1 2015: €-5.1 million). Net cash increased to €294.1 million (December 31, 2015: €285.6 million). With an equity ratio of 49.2% (December 31, 2015: 49.1%), SMA has a comfortable equity capital base and still has a solid balance sheet structure.
Against the backdrop of the consistently high order backlog of €644 million and the expectation of stronger business in the second half of the year, SMA’s Managing Board is confirming the sales and earnings forecast for fiscal year 2016 published on January 29, 2016. This forecast anticipates sales of between €950 million and €1,050 million and a significant year-on-year increase in EBIT to between €80 million and €120 million. The Managing Board notes that the upper end of the forecast earnings range is ambitious given the price developments in the solar industry.
The Managing Board is anticipating a further intensification of price pressure in 2017 compared to the current year and, in light of this, is announcing the closure of the production locations in Denver, USA, and Cape Town, South Africa. The aim of this is to sustainably improve the cost structure by consolidating the global infrastructure. The Managing Board is also planning targeted investments in technology development and is announcing further product innovations to bolster its market positioning. According to the Managing Board, the effects of the restructuring activities and the product innovations are expected to be seen in earnings within the next twelve months.
“The acceleration of price pressure in the solar industry has been unexpectedly strong in recent weeks. We therefore immediately initiated measures to lower our break-even point even further. The closure of our production locations in Denver and Cape Town was extremely difficult for us. However, this step is unavoidable if we are to lastingly counteract the persistent price pressure and to achieve better production capacity utilization in China and Germany in the future. The American market remains highly important to us. We will be maintaining our presence at the Californian location in Rocklin with Sales and Service moving ahead as well, and we will further boost our leading position on the American market. Moreover, we are planning to further expand our unique positioning with innovative solutions. For example, SMA will be presenting a compact system solution with integrated energy management for the rapidly growing Commercial market segment to the public at Solar Power International in Las Vegas in September 2016,” said SMA’s CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon. The solar industry’s medium-term prospects are good for those companies emerging successfully from the consolidation phase. “The cost of solar power generated by PV systems will at last be at a similar level to that of on-shore wind turbines before the end of the decade. This will mean entirely new growth prospects for highly flexible companies such as SMA,” stated Urbon.
You can find the half-year financial report for January to June 2016 at www.SMA.de/IR/FinancialReports.
The SMA Group with sales of about €1 billion in 2015 is the global market leader for solar inverters, a key component of all PV plants, and offers innovative key technologies for future power supply structures. It is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, and is represented in 20 countries. The Group employs more than 3,000 people worldwide. SMA has an extensive range of products, which offers the right inverters for all module types and plant sizes; for small residential systems as well as large-scale plants, grid-connected photovoltaic systems as well as off-grid and hybrid systems. Moreover, SMA offers system technology for various battery technologies and system sizes and collaborates with renowned battery manufacturers and companies from the automotive industry. The SMA technology is protected by about 700 patents and utility models worldwide. The range of services is supplemented by comprehensive services and operational management of large-scale PV power plants. Since 2008, the Group’s parent company, SMA Solar Technology AG, has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and is currently the only company in the solar industry that is listed in the TecDAX index.
SMA Solar Technology AG
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This press release serves only as information and does not constitute an offer or invitation to subscribe for, acquire, hold or sell any securities of SMA Solar Technology AG (the “Company”) or any present or future subsidiary of the Company (together with the Company, the “SMA Group”) nor should it form the basis of, or be relied upon in connection with, any contract to purchase or subscribe for any securities in the Company or any member of the SMA Group or commitment whatsoever. Securities may not be offered or sold in the United States of America absent registration or an exemption from registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
This press release can contain future-oriented statements. Future-oriented statements are statements which do not describe facts of the past. They also include statements about our assumptions and expectations. These statements are based on plans, estimations and forecasts which the Managing Board of SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA or company) has available at this time. Future-oriented statements are therefore only valid on the day on which they are made. Future-oriented statements by nature contain risks and elements of uncertainty. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors can lead to considerable differences between the actual results, the financial position, the development or the performance of the corporation and the estimates given here. These factors include those which SMA has discussed in published reports. These reports are available on the SMA website at www.SMA.de. The company accepts no obligation whatsoever to update these future-oriented statements or to adjust them to future events or developments.