SMA Solar Reports Sharp Declines In Q1, Hints At Job Cuts


In its first-quarter 2013 (Q1'13) financial results, SMA Solar Technology AG reveals a decline in sales and foreshadows possible cuts to its workforce.

According to a company announcement, SMA sold 1.2 GW of inverter output in the first quarter, down from 1.9 GW the same time last year, and generated EUR 212.3 million in sales, almost half of the EUR 405 million in Q1'12. In addition, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization dropped from EUR 57.3 million in Q1'12 to EUR 9.4 million.

The company says a combination of the debt crisis, subsidy cuts in European sectors and the threat of EU trade tariffs on Chinese solar modules has hampered demand for inverters.

Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO of SMA, also indicates plans to ‘adjust’ the company's workforce.

"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," Urbon said in the company announcement." 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. We will enter into negotiations with the Work Council and strive for a socially acceptable solution in the next few weeks."

When reached for comment, an SMA spokesperson told Solar Industry the company"cannot yet communicate any numbers regarding the adjustment of our personnel."

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