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UPDATE 2-SMA Solar counts on cost cuts, new markets in 2014
November 4, 2013 / 2:57 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 2-SMA Solar counts on cost cuts, new markets in 2014

* Expects 2014 sales of 1.0-1.3 bln euros, positive EBIT

* Sees 2013 sales at 0.9-1.0 bln euro, EBIT loss at 80-90 mln

* Shares up 2 percent (Recasts, adds growth estimates on Europe, Japan)

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT, Nov 4 (Reuters) - SMA Solar, the world’s top maker of solar inverters, expects sales to grow by up to 44 percent next year, banking on growth in Japan and the United States as well as hundreds of job cuts after European markets faltered.

Solar markets in Europe have taken a beating as governments pare back crucial subsidies, while a glut in cells, modules and inverters has led prices to collapse, driving many players out of the industry or into the arms of larger conglomerates.

Swiss industrial group ABB earlier this year bought U.S.-based Power-One, SMA’s biggest rival.

In a bid to escape shrinking European markets, solar companies are looking for growth in the Americas and Asia Pacific (APAC), which are expected to jointly account for 44 percent of the global market in 2014, up from 27 percent this year, according to industry association EPIA.

SMA Solar, also Germany’s largest solar group by sales and market capitalisation, said on Monday it expected sales of 1.0-1.3 billion euros ($1.35-1.75 billion) and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of up to 20 million euros next year.

According to StarMine, which weights analysts’ projections according to their track records, 2014 sales are seen at 1.085 billion euros, while EBIT is expected to reach 18.5 million.

This year, SMA - whose inverters are needed to help feed solar power into the energy grid - expects sales to come in between 900 million euros and 1 billion euros, with an EBIT loss of 80-90 million.

As a result of the sector’s crisis, SMA announced earlier this year it would cut about 800 jobs, equalling 14 percent of its staff.

“Especially the cost reduction and personnel adjustment measures already started will be fully effective for the first time in 2014,” Chief Executive Pierre-Pascal Urbon said in a statement.

Shares in the company were up 2 percent at 1426 GMT, having plunged earlier after the group had lowered its full-year sales outlook for the ongoing year. ($1 = 0.7414 euros) (Additional reporting by Daniela Pegna; Editing by Maria Sheahan and David Evans)

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