The German inverter maker SMA Solar Technology AG has mentioned a difficult market environment in the first lines of the presentation of the financial results for the first quarter of 2017. This, the company said, has led to a drop in sales and profits for the period.
The company shipped 1.7 GW of inverters in the first three months of this year, down from 2.1 GW in the same period of 2016. Quarterly revenue was €173.2 million ($188.5 million), down from €248.1 million in the first three months of last years. Ebitda dropped from €41,3 million in the first quarter of 2016 to €15.9 million in the latest quarter. Net profit also declined year-on-year from €18.8 million to €6.3 million.
Main drivers for sales in the latest quarter were the commercial and utility segments, the company said, with the most important markets being North America, Japan, India, Great Britain and Germany.
The company ended the quarter with an operating cash flow of €41.6 million, down from €55.5 million a year earlier. Available liquidity was €413.1 million, an improvement over the net cash of €362 million the company registered at the end of 2016. “As a result, SMA still has a highly solid balance-sheet structure. A long-term credit line of €100 million from domestic banks underscores SMA's investment-grade credit rating,” the company added.
“The first quarter of 2017 was shaped by high price pressure in all markets and segments in addition to poor weather conditions on key sales markets,” said SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon. “At the same time, incoming orders developed extremely positively in the first quarter, resulting in a book-to-bill ratio of 1.4, as of March 31, 2017.”
Order backlog at the end of March stood at €626 million, of which around €232 million relates to the product business.
For full fiscal year 2017, the company said it forecasts sales of €830 million to €R900 million and Ebitda of €70 million to €90 million.
By Petra Hannen