SMA achieves billion euro mark in sales despite coronavirus crisis in 2020
SMA generated over one billion euros in sales and doubled its operating result in 2020 despite the coronavirus crisis – as the Managing Board forecast at the start of the crisis. We put three questions about this to Chief Executive Officer Jürgen Reinert.
Jürgen, unlike most other companies, last year the SMA Managing Board did not revise the sales and earnings guidance that was forecast at the start of the year downwards, but kept it the same. Actually, sales increased by 12 percent to €1,027 million and EBITDA doubled to €72 million in 2020. How did SMA manage that?
It goes without saying that we also felt the effects of the coronavirus crisis. However, we started taking action very early on to give ourselves the flexibility to respond to all possible developments, we adapted our processes, switched to remote working overnight in a great many areas and continued to work very closely with our suppliers and customers under the changed circumstances. We constantly made sure to seamlessly maintain business operations while protecting the health of our employees. That is how we managed to grow at a stronger rate than the market, which – contrary to expectations – also experienced growth despite the pandemic. We were extremely successful in the large-scale PV power plant and residential PV rooftop system segments. All SMA employees had a hand in this because they showed an incredible amount of commitment even under the tougher corona pandemic conditions, and that should by no means be taken for granted.
What developments were you most pleased about in 2020?
The fact that in the PV power plant business we gained market share in the U.S. in particular and further consolidated our leading position in Australia. In the U.S., among other things, we also supplied what is currently the world’s largest storage power plant in California. In Australia, we have an overall market share of around 65 percent of PV power plant capacity that is already in operation or has been approved. In addition to the positive figures, I’m also very pleased to see that we reached an important milestone as part of our sustainability strategy in 2020. The SMA headquarters is now supplied with electricity exclusively from PV and wind turbine systems in the immediate vicinity. Our heating supply here is now also completely carbon-neutral. It is our goal to make SMA fully carbon-neutral around the world starting 2025 at the latest.
What’s next for SMA in 2021?
We did experience a relatively subdued start to the year due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis and increasing prices for raw materials and PV modules, but that should change over the course of the year. I’m still confident that SMA will be able to strengthen its position in key markets over the coming months and that we will achieve our targeted growth in sales to between €1,075 million and €1,175 million and in EBITDA to between €75 million and €95 million. We are expecting growth in our most significant PV markets in Europe and America as well es in the global storage market. We are also continuously improving our product portfolio and implementing cost reduction measures, and this will have a positive impact on profitability in 2021. At the same time, we will of course closely monitor the ongoing developments in relation to the coronavirus crisis and respond quickly and flexibly at all times.
Jürgen, thanks for talking to us.
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