SMA Solar Technology AG has had a successful start to the new fiscal year.
The SMA Group’s sales increased by 12.2% to EUR253.8 million in the first quarter of 2016 (Q1 2015: EUR226.3 million) and exceeded the Managing Board’s forecast of EUR235 million to EUR240 million. EBIT was EUR25.3 million (Q1 2015: EUR-5.4 million), in line with the Managing Board’s forecast of EUR23 million to EUR27 million.
With sales growth of more than 50% compared to the same period of the previous year, the segment for commercial PV systems (Commercial) was the largest growth driver and simultaneously returned to profitability. The residential PV system (Residential) and large-scale PV power plant (Utility) segments and Service business developed stably and were also profitable. The additional increase in the international share of sales to 92.4% (Q1 2015: 88.0%) reflects the SMA Group’s outstanding position internationally. In the first quarter of 2016, the SMA Group increased its sold PV inverter output by 21.3% to 2.1 GW (Q1 2015: 1.7 GW).
As a result of increased sales volumes and the fixed cost reduction, EBITDA improved considerably in the first quarter of the fiscal year to EUR42.1 million (EBITDA margin: 16.6%; Q1 2015: EUR13.4 million, 5.9%). Consolidated earnings amounted to EUR18.8 million (Q1 2015: EUR-7.9 million). Earnings per share thus amounted to EUR0.54 (Q1 2015: EUR-0.23).
Gross cash flow improved considerably in the reporting period to EUR40.6 million (Q1 2015: EUR16.1 million). Net cash increased to EUR323.4 million (December 31, 2015: EUR285.6 million). With an equity ratio of 49.9% (December 31, 2015: 49.1%), SMA has a comfortable equity capital base and therefore an extremely solid balance sheet structure. SMA’s bankability was also underscored by a revolving credit facility of EUR100 million agreed upon at the end of April with a consortium of Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank and Hessische Landesbank to secure financing of current assets in the long term. SMA will use the financial leeway this provides to further expand its operations and maintenance services (O&M) business and thus further diversify its sales and earnings base.
“In the first quarter of 2016, SMA successfully continued on the path to more growth and sustainable profitability,” explained SMA Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Pascal Urbon. “We have a balanced distribution of sales over all segments and regions and have generated positive earnings in all segments of the core business.
The strategic partnership we entered into with Tigo Energy in April will also enable us to tap into the growing market for smart module technology, a market that was previously closed to us. With this strategic step, SMA has laid the foundation for further growth, especially in the Residential and Commercial segments, and will globally market a highly flexible and cost-effective solution to optimize the performance of PV modules in the next few months.”
The SMA Managing Board confirms its sales and earnings forecast for the current fiscal year. This forecast anticipates sales of EUR950 million to EUR1,050 million and a significant increase in EBIT to between EUR80 million and EUR120 million. The forecast is supported by a high order backlog of EUR691.6 million at the end of the first quarter of 2016.
You can find the quarterly financial report for January to March 2016 at www.SMA.de/IR/FinancialReports.
The SMA Group with sales of EUR1 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.