Overview Q1 2017:
- 1.7GW inverter output sold (Q1 2016: 2.1GW)
- Sales at EUR173.2 million (Q1 2016: EUR248.1 million) and EBITDA at EUR15.9 million (Q1 2016: EUR41.3 million) in line with the Managing Board's forecast
- High operating cash flow of EUR41.6 million (Q1 2016: EUR55.5 million)
- Financial stability thanks to solid equity ratio of 49.5% (December 31, 2016: 48.3%) and high net cash of EUR413.1 million (December 31, 2016: EUR362.0 million)
- High order backlog of EUR626 million, of which EUR232 million is attributable to the product business
- Managing Board confirms its sales and earnings forecast for fiscal year 2017
In the first quarter of 2017, SMA Solar Technology AG sold inverters with a total output of 1.7GW (Q1 2016: 2.1GW) and generated sales of EUR173.2 million (Q1 2016: EUR248.1 million) in a difficult market environment. EBITDA dropped to EUR15.9 million (EBITDA margin: 9.2%; Q1 2016: EUR41.3 million, 16.6%). Sales and earnings were in line with the Managing Board's forecast published on March 29, 2017. The main sales drivers were the commercial PV system segment (Commercial) and large-scale PV power plant segment (Utility) and most important markets were North America, Japan, India, Great Britain and Germany.
In the first quarter of 2017, net income was EUR6.3 million (Q1 2016: EUR18.8 million). Earnings per share thus amounted to EUR0.17 (Q1 2016: EUR0.54). Despite the decline in sales, SMA generated high operating cash flows of EUR41.6 million (Q1 2016: EUR55.5 million) and further increased its high liquidity reserve. Net cash rose to EUR413.1 million (December 31, 2016: EUR362.0 million). The equity ratio slightly increased to 49.5% (December 31, 2016: 48.3%). As a result, SMA still has a highly solid balance-sheet structure. A long-term credit line of EUR100 million from domestic banks underscores SMA's investment-grade credit rating.
"The first quarter of 2017 was shaped by high price pressure in all markets and segments in addition to poor weather conditions on key sales markets," explained SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon. "At the same time, incoming orders developed extremely positively in the first quarter, resulting in a book-to-bill ratio of 1.4. As of March 31, 2017, SMA had an order backlog of around EUR626 million, of which roughly EUR232 million was attributable to the product business. Sales and the order backlog in the first three months correspond to approximately half of the Managing Board's annual sales forecast. In addition, we will roll out other cost-optimized products and solutions on international photovoltaic markets in the coming months and present innovative solutions, including solutions for comprehensive and fully automatic energy management across various sectors, to our customers at leading trade fairs in the near future. This is why we expect to significantly improve our business performance in the second half of the year despite continued high price pressure."
In light of the high order backlog, the SMA Managing Board confirms its sales and earnings forecast for the 2017 fiscal year published on January 26, 2017. The forecast anticipates sales of EUR830 million to EUR900 million and EBITDA of EUR70 million to EUR90 million. Net cash will amount to between EUR400 million and EUR450 million due to high operating cash flow.