SMA hoping for rebound in demand after reporting heavy 1H losses

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German inverter manufacturer SMA Solar has cited weak demand in Europe for losses sustained in the first half of 2014, but said it anticipates a rebound as international demand picks up.

After revising down 2014 foecasts and announcing hundreds of job losses at the end of July, SMA said its Q1 and Q2 2014 sales were €341.2 million (US$455 million), down from €461.5 million in the same period last year.

The total inverter output sold by the company in this period was down from 2.5GW to 2GW, and earnings before interest and taxes for the period slumped to €-62.4 million from €-23.3 million in 2013.

SMA said it had continued to see sales in Europe slump, particularly in Germany where demand fell 40% year on year.

But the company’s management said it predicted demand to pick up in markets such as North America, Japan, Great Britain and China.

This was underlined by the proportion of sales outside of Germany rising from 67.4% in the first half of last year to 70.8% this year.

Chief executive Pierre-Pascal Urbon said: “In the coming months, we expect a considerable rise in demand, especially in the international project business. Thanks to our global presence, we will benefit from the forecast development.”

Urbon added that efforts to reduce the cost of sales and restructure the organisation would help the company return to profitability next year.

Aside from last month’s warning of job losses, SMA earlier this week revealed that it had acquired the European O&M business of Phoenix Solar as part of a strategic move to develop its own service operation.

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