In 2018, SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA/FWB: S92) sold PV inverters with a total output of around 8.5 GW. Inverter output sold in the past fiscal year was thus on a par with the previous year (2017: 8.5 GW). As a result of increased price pressure, however, sales fell to around €761 million (2017: €891 million) according to preliminary calculations by the SMA Managing Board and are therefore at the lower end of the Managing Board’s guidance. The expected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of around −€67 million (2017: €97.3 million) are impacted by one-time items as well as provisions for financing the planned restructuring measures and are within the Managing Board’s guidance. Depreciation and amortization are expected to amount to more than €80 million. For the 2019 fiscal year, the SMA Managing Board is expecting sales to increase to between €800 million and €880 million and positive EBITDA of between €20 million and €50 million.
“SMA had to contend with considerable difficulties during the last fiscal year,” said SMA Chief Executive Officer Jürgen Reinert. “Due to the sudden downturn in the photovoltaic market in China, Chinese manufacturers have made increasing inroads into the international markets, creating massive price pressure. As a result, project developers and investors have postponed the construction of PV power plants in anticipation of a further fall in prices. In addition, business in commercial PV systems, in particular, was affected by the limited availability of electronic components—a situation that has since been resolved. The storage business also fell short of expectations due to a supply shortage from the battery manufacturers. To quickly return SMA to profitability in the changed market environment of the PV industry over the long term, the Managing Board has already resolved measures to reduce costs and increase sales.”
The SMA Managing Board therefore expects sales to increase to between €800 million and €880 million in 2019. Key stimuli for this will be the expected positive market development in Europe and America and the revival of the storage market. SMA is excellently positioned in these areas and will gain additional market share by demonstrating an even greater focus on customers and introducing new products and system solutions. It can also be seen from the good order intake that project developers and investors are abandoning their cautious approach and increasingly implementing large-scale PV projects again.
The SMA Managing Board anticipates positive EBITDA of between €20 million and €50 million in 2019. “We have already started to implement the resolved measures, which will enable us to reduce our fixed costs, improve utilization of the available capacity and thus safeguard the future viability of SMA,” said Reinert. “In addition to selling our Chinese companies to the local management team, we will focus on our core competencies throughout the entire company and reduce complexity on all levels. We will simultaneously position ourselves in the key future fields of energy management, storage integration, repowering and digital business models.”
At the Capital Markets Day on January 25, the Managing Board will discuss market development and the positioning of SMA along with further details on the measures currently being implemented. The presentation containing additional information can be found at http://www.sma.de/en/investor-relations/publications from the beginning of the event. SMA will publish the complete consolidated financial statements for 2018 on March 28, 2019.