Meyer Burger impacted by weak demand in photovoltaic sector in H1 2019

The Swiss manufacturer of production equipment for solar technology Meyer Burger Technology Ltd complains that the photovoltaic sector in the first half of 2019 was »marked by weak demand in China, the largest end customer market«. Global production overcapacities for multicrystalline wafers, cells and modules were offset by supply bottlenecks for monoproducts with high efficiencies. »Although investments in standard PV increased because of declining prices for PERC equipment, cell and module manufacturers often postponed major investment decisions in new technologies.«
Meyer Burger achieved an order intake of CHF 94 million ($96 million), considerably less than the CHF 137.9 million recorded in the same period of the previous year. The order backlog amounted to CHF 166 million ($170 million) as of June 30, 2019 compared to CHF 241 million in the first half of 2018.
Net sales decreased to CHF 122.6 million ($126 million) from CHF 232.3 million ($238.4 million) in H1 2018. Meyer Burger generated net income of CHF 1.8 million ($1.8 million) in the first half of 2019, compared to CHF 8.3 million in the same period of the previous year.
The sales mix by region had changed slightly compared to the previous year, with Asia remaining Meyer Burger's most important sales region with 73 percent. Europe contributed 21 percent (H1 2018: 28 percent) of net sales in the first half of 2019 and America around 6 percent (H1 2018: 3 percent).
The extraordinary result in the first half of 2019 amounted to CHF 27.7 million ($28.4 million) compared to CHF 0.8 million in the same period of the previous year. The increase was mainly due to the sale of the wafering business to Precision Surfacing Solutions (PSS).
The company expects a significant global expansion of installed solar power capacity in the double-digit percentage range due to the restructuring of the Chinese solar market. Meyer Burger assumes that more than half of the solar power capacity will be installed outside China in the future. The transformation programme launched in October 2018 »is on track to achieve its key objectives and is constantly being adapted to market dynamics.« According to Hans Brändle, CEO of Meyer Burger, »the significant decline and unattractive margins in standard PV business have prompted us to review the originally planned relocation of some of our production to China and to adapt our sales focus.« The company intend to concentrate its future PV business activities mainly at the largest location, Hohenstein-Ernstthal (Germany).

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