SMA Solar looks to ‘significant’ growth in 2022 as it sets sights on order backlog

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The inverter manufacturer’s sales have been hit by supply chain issues and a shortage of raw materials. Image: SMA Solar Technology.

SMA Solar Technology is expectant of “significant sales growth” in 2022 after supply chain turbulence this year created an extensive backlog of delayed large-scale solar projects.

Reporting its Q3 2021 results today, SMA revealed it had shipped 10.3GW to date, with 3.5GW shipped in the third quarter. This is down on the 10.7GW and 3.6GW shipped in Q1 – Q3 and Q3 2020 respectively.

SMA was, however, able to bolster its earnings margin for the reporting period – which rose by 1.7 percentage points to 7.1% – helping lift earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to €53 million (US$63.9 million). Net income increased by 66% year-on-year to €15.2 million.

Many solar manufacturers, from modules to inverters, have reported improved margins this year after supply chain volatility and increased materials and components prices have been largely passed on to customers.

SMA had already issued revised guidance for the year, warning in September that its revenue and earnings in 2021 would be lower than previously forecast after supply chain issues “worsened significantly”. The inverter manufacturer said today that its Business Solutions segment continued to lag as corporate customers dwelled on investment decisions, while its Home and Large Scale & Project Solutions units recorded sales growth.

Project delays and pushbacks have, however, persisted, and Jürgen Reinert, CEO at SMA, warned that business performance would continue to be affected in Q4.

But the situations is expected to ease entering 2022, with SMA boasting a swollen order backlog. “Order intake is developing very well, and we will start off with a high order backlog next year, for which we anticipate significant sales growth overall,” Reinert said.

Net cash at SMA Solar stood at €169 million at the end of Q3 2021, down from the €226 million the business held at the end of last year, which SMA attributed to increased stockpiling as material and component shortages sent prices spiralling. Previous results would indicate that the significant majority – approximately €57 million of net cash expenditure – was spent during the second quarter, with just €1 million net cash spent in Q3 2021.

SMA reiterated its sales and earnings guidance for the full year, with sales expected to be in the range of €980 million – €1.03 billion and EBITDA to stand between €50 million to €65 million.

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