SMA forecasts 'considerable earnings increase' in 2016

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SMA Solar Technology AG’s managing board said Friday it was expecting an increase in operating profit to between €80 million and €120 million this year with sales again reaching around €1 billion.

The company will present its rosy outlook at Friday’s Capital Markets Day, where it will also discuss its strategic focus and the current state of the global PV invderter market.

“With our complete product and service portfolio and our international positioning, SMA can participate in further development in the energy supply sector in all market segments and regions,” said SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon. “The digitalization of the energy industry will give rise to new business models, for which we have already developed new technological solutions and service offers.”

Urbon said key areas for the company included the provision of data to improve the predictability of solar power generation and consumption as well as the integration of battery-storage systems. “Here, SMA has positioned itself at an early stage,” the chief exec added.

The company is unveiling its new storage solution at the event, the Sunny Boy Storage, aimed at high-voltage batteries such as the Tesla Powerwall. With the system, SMA could “not only benefit from the expected new installations of battery-storage systems for residential PV systems but also serve the large market of existing systems,” Urbon said.

SMA expects the global PV market to continue growing to 60 GW this year, up from 51 GW last year. Pointing out that growth will mainly occur in the regions with the highest price pressure, the company’s managing board said it expected a moderate increase in sales of PV inverter technology to €4.9 billion, up from €4.7 billion in 2015. In view of that scenario, SMA execs are forecasting sales between €950 million and €1,050 million in 2016, in line with last year’s figure of about €1 billion.

The company has improved its performance with rigorous restructuring over the past year, which saw the elimination of some 1,600 jobs. The streamlining resulted in increased financial and operational flexibility and the company now expects earnings before interest and taxes to increase to between €80 million and €120 million — up from between €30 millino and €33 million anticipated in 2015.