Business was mostly good, and the company grew particularly in the USA. That is why SMA Solar wants to pay its shareholders a dividend again. However, the outlook for the first quarter of 2021 remains behind the previous year in terms of sales. On the stock exchange, the news on Thursday was not well received: After the papers of the Niestetal manufacturer of inverters initially reacted with profits to the balance sheet and the surprisingly positive dividend proposal, they finally slipped into the red.
The SMA Solar shares, which are generally very volatile, lost a good 10 percent to EUR 46.72 by late morning among the biggest losers in the SDAX small cap index. At the beginning of trading, the shares had risen by almost four percent. Meanwhile, a trader pointed out that the company’s forecast sales range for the first quarter was below market expectations. This could have irritated some investors.
The outlook for the first quarter is okay, said CFO Ulrich Hadding in a video conference. The beginning of the year is also shaped by seasonal influences: “We had a strong winter with a lot of snow,” says Hadding. That is why fewer systems have been sold and installed. “But we will make up for that again in the course of the year.” For the first three months, the group expects sales of 235 to 245 million euros. A year ago it was 287.9 million. The group sees earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) in this period at 14 to 17 million euros after 12.4 million a year earlier.
SMA Solar confirmed the forecast that had already been issued for the current year, as did the previously published key figures. Accordingly, the group expects sales to grow to 1.075 to 1.175 billion euros in 2021. In 2020 sales were 1.03 billion. The Ebitda is expected to rise to 75 to 95 million euros in the current year. In 2020, the group reached 72 million here.
The bottom line is that SMA Solar is back in the black after two years of losses: The profit was 28.1 million euros. But that’s still less than in 2017 and 2016. However, the group wants to distribute a dividend again for 2020. Shareholders should receive 30 cents per share. In the previous year they came away empty-handed. The dividend caused a surprise among analysts: The estimates were significantly lower.
In the past year, SMA Solar was able to grow particularly with small and large photovoltaic systems. Only the segment for medium-sized systems, which is aimed at companies, lost in 2020 due to corona, said Hadding. After all, companies suffered the most during the crisis. “In private, people may have taken more care of their home, while vacation costs have tended to fall out,” explains the chief financial officer. In the case of particularly large plants, the projects are planned for the long term and are at most delayed but not canceled due to the pandemic.
/ knd / men / jha /