SMA has managed to increase sales volumes in Q3 2013, by 9.5% year on year, to 5.9 GW. This increase has delivered in sales for the year on par with 2011 results. In the first nine months of 2011 SMA has reaped 1.192 million, while its 2012 result stands at 1.196 million.
In the current difficult photovoltaic market this can be seen as being a positive result, however the company is not so positive in its forecasts for 2013. Sales of between 900 million and 13 billion are anticipated for the full year, at a "break-even result in the best case scenario."
In announcing its Q3 and nine-month results today, SMA noted the major developments as being a shift away from European markets, due to subsidy cuts, and towards "foreign growth."
However it is SMAs dire forecast for 2013 that is most striking in todays figures. The company reports having "adapted to the changes in the market" and that it has "laid the groundwork" in recent months for cost reductions. The business area of Purchasing and Development has been singled out as an area where cost reductions can be attained. "New product platforms," to be ready for market in 2014, were also mentioned in the release.
"Especially considering an expected steep drop in demand in the next year, it is important for us that we can finance investments in the development of future technologies of strategic importance from our own resources," said SMA Speaker of the Managing Board Pierre-Pascal Urbon. In October SMA announced it was shedding 450 permanent and 600 temporary jobs.
Hinting at product niches, such as diesel supplementation products for remote or island applications, Urbon pointed to dropping module prices as driving new business opportunities. "Important growth impulses come from applications in which photovoltaics is the more cost-effective solution in comparison with conventional energy sources. Here we will set ourselves apart from our competitors with technological innovations for the regulation of solar-diesel hybrid systems, intelligent energy management for the optimization of self-consumption as well as system solutions for large-scale PV plants," he said.
In terms of its continuing internalization strategy, SMA has reported to Reuters that it has been hampered by current PV trade disputes. Reuters has reported that SMAs Urbon said China has been largely sealed off from western solar companies, making it impossible for the company to operate profitably in one of the fastest growing solar markets.