Overview of Q1 2015:
SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA/FWB: S92) posted a good start to fiscal year 2015 and achieved the forecast sales target in the first quarter. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the SMA Group’s sales from January to March 2015 climbed by 28% to €226.3 million (Q1 2014: €176.3 million). The main sales driver was the segment of large-scale PV power plants. The international share of sales rose significantly to 88.0% (Q1 2014: 71.1%). This underscores SMA’s outstanding international position. No other competitor has a comparable international infrastructure or comparable product and service portfolio. The SMA Group’s most important foreign markets in the first three months of the year were North America, Japan, Great Britain and Australia. SMA sold PV inverters with a total output of 1.7 GW in the reporting period (Q1 2014: 1.0 GW).
As a result of increased sales volumes, reduced fixed costs and positive exchange rate effects, EBITDA improved considerably to €13.4 million (Q1 2014: €–2.5 million). At €–5.4 million (EBIT margin: –2.4%), EBIT was at the upper end of the Managing Board’s earnings forecast (forecast: €–5.0 million to €–10.0 million). In the same period of the previous year, SMA had generated EBIT of €–22.4 million (EBIT margin: –12.7%). Consolidated earnings amounted to €–7.9 million (Q1 2014: €–16.7 million).
From January to March 2015, the SMA Group generated significant positive gross cash flow of €16.1 million. In the same period of the previous year, this figure was €–9.4 million. Net cash remained at the same high level as at the end of the previous year at €223.7 million (December 31, 2014: €225.4 million). With an equity ratio of 46.6% (December 31, 2014: 46.8%), SMA remains financially sound and can implement the strategy from its own resources.
“We are satisfied with the financial performance in the first quarter of 2015. With the sales generated and the order backlog at the end of the first quarter, we have already achieved more than 60% of our sales target for the year as a whole. The earnings situation developed better than planned, partly due to the reduction of fixed costs already initiated and to exchange rate effects. In addition, we maintained our high net cash and implemented the measures to transform SMA as planned in the first quarter of 2015. Returning to sustainable profitability is not a sprint but a marathon for us – which is why we will also continue systematically implementing the strategy presented at the start of the year,” explains SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon.
The SMA Managing Board is confirming the sales and earnings forecast for the current fiscal year, which predicts sales of €730 million to €770 million. Given that the savings from the transformation measures currently being implemented will only be recognized in profit or loss from mid-2015 at the earliest, the Managing Board is forecasting negative operating earnings (EBIT) of €–30 million to €–60 million for the current year. Considering likely depreciation and amortization of approximately €70 million, the Managing Board expects positive earnings (EBITDA) in 2015. The SMA Managing Board expects to return to positive operating earnings (EBIT) in 2016. For the first half year 2015, the SMA Managing Board is expecting sales of €400 million to €450 million and operating earnings (EBIT) of €-15 million to €-25 million.
You can find the quarterly financial report for January to March 2015 at www.SMA.de/IR/FinancialReports.
This press release serves only as information and does not constitute an offer or invitation to subscribe for, acquire, hold or sell any securities of SMA Solar Technology AG (the “Company”) or any present or future subsidiary of the Company (together with the Company, the “SMA Group”) nor should it form the basis of, or be relied upon in connection with, any contract to purchase or subscribe for any securities in the Company or any member of the SMA Group or commitment whatsoever. Securities may not be offered or sold in the United States of America absent registration or an exemption from registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
This press release can contain future-oriented statements. Future-oriented statements are statements which do not describe facts of the past. They also include statements about our assumptions and expectations. These statements are based on plans, estimations and forecasts which the Managing Board of SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA or company) has available at this time. Future-oriented statements are therefore only valid on the day on which they are made. Future-oriented statements by nature contain risks and elements of uncertainty. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors can lead to considerable differences between the actual results, the financial position, the development or the performance of the corporation and the estimates given here. These factors include those which SMA has discussed in published reports. These reports are available on the SMA website at www.SMA.de. The company accepts no obligation whatsoever to update these future-oriented statements or to adjust them to future events or developments.