Results reported by SMA Solar Technology, the world’s leading maker of solar inverters, at the end of March indicated that the company more than doubled its sales in 2010 and set a new earnings record.
Last year saw the German firm increase its sales to €1.9 billion, compared with €0.9 billion in 2009, while earnings before interest and tax came in at €516 million (2009: €228 million). The company makes the inverters needed to turn the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar cells into the alternative current (AC) used by the electricity grid and by most electrical appliances.
SMA attributed its 2010 success to the fact that it is the only manufacturer worldwide to offer a product portfolio of inverters for all applications, all power classes and all types of solar modules.
The company estimates the amount of inverter output sold last year, which stood at 7.8GW (2009: 3.4GW), represented a market share of between 39% and 45%.
SMA also reported that its sales are becoming more internationalised, with almost 45% being generated outside of Germany in 2010, compared with 38.4% in 2009. Last year, the firm expanded its production sites in Denver, USA and Toronto, Canada.
“The international photovoltaic markets will acquire ever increasing importance. SMA, as a technology and global market leader with 17 foreign subsidiaries situated on four continents, is exceptionally well prepared for the further internationalisation of business,” said Günther Cramer, the firm’s chief executive officer.
But SMA also said it predicts a temporary stagnation in the solar market during 2011, and that a slight downturn in growth cannot be ruled out. So, after last year’s bumper performance it expects sales figures of between €1.5 billion and €1.9 billion for this year with a slightly lower EBIT margin of between 21% and 25%.
Despite this cautious view, investors flocked to SMA during March. The company’s shares, which are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, increased by 14.8% to €88.44 each during the month and are up some 27% since the start of the year.
12-month high/low: €102.50/€61.29
Market cap: €3.1bn
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