Meyer Burger to expand production capacity faster as demand grows

Image by Meyer Burger (www.meyerburger.com).

March 25 (Renewables Now) - After completing its transformation into a solar cells and modules manufacturer, Meyer Burger Technology AG (SWX:MBTN) is planning to speed up the expansion of its production capacity on the back of buoyant demand in the utility-scale segment.

The Swiss company is seeking to reach long-term off-take deals with developers, independent power producers and utilities in a bid to ramp up production and cut costs. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been signed with a major US renewable energy company which will offtake a multi-GW aggregate volume from Meyer Burger and provide part of the initial investment necessary to build the production line.

As announced on Thursday, Meyer Burger is revising its original growth plan that envisaged a pause on expansion in 2023 to scale its capacity faster amid growing demand in the utility-scale segment.

The company said further that it is making progress with the expansion of its capacity at the Thalheim cell manufacturing site and the Freiberg module manufacturing plant and expects to produce a total module volume of 500 MW in 2022. The capacity in Thalheim will be raised to 1.4 GW while the site in Freiberg should reach 1 GW in the last quarter of 2022.

In addition, the planning for the production site in Goodyear, Arizona, is in progress with the initial production capacity of 400 MW at the site expected to be available next year.

Along with the capacity expansion, new products will be launched during the year in the commercial and industrial customer segment. The initial solar roof tile pilot customer projects will be realised in the second half of 2022.

The company warned of a residual risk posed by the currently distressed global supply chain that may affect its plans.

FIN PERFORMANCE IN 2021 BURDENED BY TRANSFORMATION

The transformation left its mark on Meyer Burger's performance in 2021. The loss expanded significantly while revenues plunged as the effects of the transformation from a high-tech production equipment provider into an integrated manufacturer of high-performance solar cells and modules took their toll. These included higher personnel costs, additional new infrastructure costs, such as rent and energy, marketing expenses as well as new machinery. The results were further burdened by a delay in the production ramp-up last year which was caused by unexpected supply bottlenecks and higher than usual staff absences due to the pandemic.

Below is a table with details about Meyer Burger's financial performance in 2021.

Amounts in CHF 2021 2020
Revenues 39.9m 90.5m
Personnel costs 60.4m 53.9m
Operating expenses 41.2m 28.5m
EBITDA (LBITDA) (72.5m) (44.6m)
EBIT (LBIT) (85.3m) (58.1m)
Net profit (loss) (100.5m) (64.5m)
Balance sheet total 492.7m 296.8m
Cash and cash equivalents 231.4m 139.8m

A revised outlook for the current year, that takes into consideration the more ambitious expansion plans, will be announced no later than August when the report for the first half of the year will be published.

(CHF 1.0 = USD 1.074/EUR 0.978)

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