SMA Solar confirms further job cuts on expected market decline

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SMA Solar Technology is continuing to tout the expectation that a dire PV market this year will lead to the company making further headcount reductions.

Announcing first quarter results, the PV inverter market leader said that it experienced weak global demand in the first part of 2013, compounded by accelerated ASP pressure that resulted in sales of €212.3 million, down 47.6% compared to the same quarter of 2012.

However, the company noted that it experienced a dramatic downturn in demand in Europe, which had been caused by subsidy cuts and the pending duties on Chinese modules.

Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO of SMA Solar said: “Measured in euro, the global photovoltaic market will decline in 2013 for the first time in many years. As the global market leader, we will be especially affected by this. In such a short space of time, we will not be able to offset the sharp decline in sales with the ongoing measures for increasing productivity and saving on material costs alone. Therefore, we are forced to adjust the personnel structures to the changes in underlying conditions and the lower level of sales in the upcoming months.”

Rumours had circulated that SMA Solar would make drastic cuts to its workforce, but the company only confirmed that further headcount reductions would be implemented. The company had reduced its headcount by 500 in the autumn of 2012.

SMA Solar sold 1.2GW of PV inverters in the quarter, down 38.1% (1.9GW) compared to the same period last year. The company reported a net loss of €5.8 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €9.4 million. The decrease in earnings was said to be attributable to lower sales volume, high price pressure and product mix change from residential to large-scale PV plant demand outside of Europe.

SMA Solar reiterated 2013 guidance of sales of €0.9 billion to € 1.3 billion and a break-even result as the best scenario.

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