Manz sees further solar growth potential for 2018

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Manz AG, which recently dismissed its CFO, has released its 2017 financial results. Turnover increased by almost 41% to €325 million, which is a new record performance.

The company also substantially improved its operating result, from a loss of €35.9 million in 2016, to a profit of €1.6 million in 2017. EBIT was positively influenced by a “one-off effect in the solar segment,” it said. Last year, Manz received €37.5 million from the sale of its subsidiary, Manz CIGS Technology GmbH.

The company’s PV division accounted for 32.1% of sales last year, with the Contract Manufacturing and Electronics segments close behind, with 28.2% and 27.1%, respectively. The Energy Storage business unit, meanwhile, contributed just 7.3% in 2017.

Manz is confident about its 2018 business development. The Management Board expects an increase in sales of between 10% and 14%, with a slightly positive EBIT, excluding special items for the current financial year.

An increase in sales, the company said, is expected for all of its segments, with sales of the solar division forecast to be improved by 5% to 10%. Manz sees the greatest potential in the “Energy Storage” segment, however, where it expects sales to increase by 25% to 35% in 2018.

The earnings improvement for 2018, however, is set to be driven primarily by the PV business. “Due to continued high expenditures in research and development for the further expansion of the product portfolio, as well as investments in market development, the Electronics and Energy Storage segments are expected to make a positive contribution to Group EBIT only from 2019,” Manz said.

The first effects of the numerous measures for organizational and process improvements were already visible in the fourth quarter. With sales of around €132 million and a positive EBIT, “the foundation has been laid for aligning the company with stable and profit-oriented growth in all business areas,” said CEO, Eckhard Hörner-Marass.

He announced further optimizations for 2018, including the reduction of parallel structures and the streamlining of overhead costs.

The implementation of large CIGS orders from China is still going according to plan, Manz continued. Order intake in the Energy Storage and Electronics divisions was “significantly higher than in the previous year”.

“At the end of 2017, we have a backlog of orders of €222.0 million, demand from industry continues to increase and incoming orders in 2018 are performing well,” Hörner-Marass said.

With cash and cash equivalents of more than €72 million and an unused credit line of just under €21 million, there was also sufficient financial resources to implement the planned measures, he added.