SMA Solar Technology Ag Generates Positive Operating Earnings From January To September 2015
From January to September 2015, SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA/FWB: S92) recorded good results, which included an increase in sales of 27.3% to €699.2 million (Q1-Q3 2014: €549.3 million). Sales were mainly driven by the large-scale PV power plant segment (Utility). At the same time, the residential PV system and commercial PV system segments as well as service business also posted sales growth. A high international share of sales of 86.7% (Q1-Q3 2014: 75.9%) reflects SMA Group’s outstanding international position. The most important foreign markets in the reporting period were North America, Japan, Great Britain and Australia. SMA sold PV inverters with an output of 5.0 GW in the first nine months of the year (Q1-Q3 2014: 3.3 GW). This is nearly as much as in all of last year.
As a result of increased sales volumes, reduced fixed costs and positive exchange rate effects, EBITDA improved considerably to €58.9 million (Q1-Q3 2014: €–8.2 million). From January to September 2015, SMA generated positive earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of €3.4 million after negative earnings in the same period of the previous year (Q1-Q3 2014: €–72.7 million).
Despite severance payments in the wake of staff reductions, gross cash flow improved considerably in the reporting period to €26.4 million (Q1–Q3 2014: €–46.1 million). Net cash increased to €250.6 million (December 31, 2014: €225.4 million). With an equity ratio of 46.7% (December 31, 2014: 46.8%), SMA remains financially sound and is therefore able to implement the company strategy from its own resources.
“SMA completed the turnaround earlier than expected having already generated positive operating earnings before interest and taxes in the first nine months of the year,” explained SMA Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer Pierre-Pascal Urbon. “We have continued to extend our technology and market leadership in recent months and are the clear global market leader according to a study by IHS. As a photovoltaic systems specialist, the success of our strategy of offering holistic solutions for all attractive photovoltaic markets, all module technologies and all power classes is reflected in even distribution of sales, both in regions and market segments. SMA is in an outstanding position to benefit from the increase in global demand expected in 2016.” The company has an attractive cash flow profile thanks to an adjusted fixed cost base, reduced working capital and low capital intensity. In 2015, SMA will generate positive free cash flow and further increase its net liquidity.
Against the backdrop of its positive business growth from January to October 2015, a significantly better sales and earnings development in the third quarter compared to the same period of the last year (sales Q3 2015: €269.9 million, Q3 2014: €208.1 million; EBIT Q3 2015: €18.3 million, Q3 2014: €–10.3 million) as well as a high order backlog, the Managing Board of SMA has again raised its sales and earnings forecast for the current fiscal year on November 11, 2015. The new forecast predicts sales of €925 million to €975 million (previously: €850 million to €900 million) and an operating result (EBIT) of €10 million to €30 million (previously: €0 million to €10 million).