The ongoing market slump continues to batter sales of equipment manufacturers like Meyer Burger. The company managed to realise net sales of CHF 90.4 million (US$96.81 million) in the solar segment in the first half of 2013. The net result for the first half is a loss of CHF 81.9 million (US$ 87.71 million). The company's results were plagued by low customer demand for new systems and equipment. With optimisation and consolidation programs already implemented as planned by mid-year, operating expenses declined though by CHF54.7 million (US$58.58 million) compared to the first half of 2012.
Market recovery expected though
The volume of new orders were CHF82.5 million ($88.35 million) in the first half of 2013, which is a similar figure to orders in the second half of 2012 at CHF95 million ($101.73 million). Meyer Burger is optimistic about 2013 second half and 2014 though, expecting customers to make new investments in wafer, cell and module manufacturing lines.
In fact just in the last six weeks since 1 July 2013, over CHF40 million ($42.84 million) in orders have come in. The orders are being marked as a turning point in customer behavior according to Meyer Burger. This resonates the company's view since beginning of 2012 that the market will eventually recover and demand for production equipment will increase from 2013 onwards. In fact Meyer Burger had reported two new orders with Asian clients beginning of August.
The short-term outlook for Meyer Burger remains challenging, with the company not being able to uphold earlier net sales guidance of CHF400 million ($428.36 million) for the fiscal year 2013. Still the second half of 2013 has had a better start as mentioned above in terms of incoming orders. Based on current project discussions Meyer Burger forecasts an increase in incoming orders compared to the previous year. Additionally contracts are also expected to be signed for heterojunction as well as further orders for the new SmartWire connection technology and for integrated production lines.
In the long run, Meyer Burger sees growth in the solar segment and, based on this, the stabilisation of prices for cells and modules. Meyer Burger remains certain that the PV equipment market is poised for gradual recovery. The full financial report can be found here.
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