Last year, Meyer Burger increased sales by 4% to €405 million, while its EBITDA amounted to €10.6 million (2016: €9 million). Consolidated net loss reached €67.8 million, a slight improvement compared to the loss of €83 million it registered in fiscal 2016.
The balance sheet includes a total of €65 million of exceptional items and extraordinary expenses, most of which related to the discontinuation of diamond wire production at Diamond Materials Tech in Colorado Springs, write-downs, currency effects and the announced closure of production at the Swiss facility in Thun this year.
On an adjusted basis excluding these special effects, EBITDA would have been €39.8 million and consolidated net income, minus €2.7 million. As of December 31, 2017, the company had a net liquidity of €57.8 million and an equity ratio of 51.7%.
In 2017, the group benefited from strong market dynamics, especially for cell technologies. The utilization rates of the existing production capacities were at high levels for many customers – which ultimately led to many orders for technology upgrades or new equipment for capacity expansions.
Order intake for the PV segment in 2017 reached €479 million, increasing 23% from the 2016 financial year, and reaching the highest level over the past six years. The order backlog at the turn of the year was €294 million, 40% higher than in the previous year.
In the PV segment, Meyer Burger won major orders last year, in particular for MB PERC/MAiA technologies, heterojunction technology, SiNA technology and diamond wire saws. The total amount was around €208 million (2016: €125 million).
The Swiss company cut 229 jobs last year to reduce costs. At the end of the year, the company had 1,276 employees. At the same time, Meyer Burger increased the number of temporary employees from 80 at the end of 2016, to 175 at the end of 2017, in particular at the German production site in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, due to the strong order intake and the high order backlog.
Personnel costs therefore fell by €12.7 million, or 10%, to 116 million in the past financial year.
As for fiscal year 2018, Meyer Burger has set a target for net sales of around €385 million to €428 million, and an EBITDA margin of around 10%.