Meyer Burger's 2020 sales plunge amid strategic realignment

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

March 11 (Renewables Now) - Meyer Burger Technology AG (SWX:MBTN) today reported that its net loss nearly tripled in 2020 following a 65% year-on-year fall in net sales as a result of the company’s ongoing strategic realignment.

As announced last summer, the company has decided to transform from a supplier of solar machinery to a manufacturer of solar cells and modules, making Heterojunction (HJT) and SmartWire production equipment exclusively for its own use. Meyer Burger said it will begin production in the second quarter of 2021, with an annual capacity of 400 MW for cells and modules each.

Today, the company confirmed that its production facilities are on track to open at the end of May. It will manufacture cells in Bitterfeld-Wolfen and assemble modules in Freiberg. Over 300 new employees are expected to be hired in the first phase of the realignment, but some current workers in Hohenstein-Ernstthal will leave after choosing not to relocate to the new sites.

Meyer Burger’s objective is to expand its annual cell and module production capacity in 2022 to 1.4 GW and 0.8 GW, respectively. It will bankroll the plan by raising at least CHF 180 million (USD 194.5m/EUR 162.6m) of debt, the company noted.

Initially, Meyer Burger will focus on the residential and small commercial rooftop segment, starting in large photovoltaic (PV) markets in Europe such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria, while actively marketing its modules in the Benelux countries, Italy, France, the UK, Poland and the Nordic countries.

The company said further it has received indications that its offering will be in high demand in the US and for this reason has decided to speed up its entry into that market.

Meyer Burger anticipates first sales in the US in the second half of 2021, rather than in 2022. Ardes Johnson, a former Tesla and SolarWorld USA employee, has been appointed as president of Meyer Burger Americas, responsible for Sales in the USA/Americas.

2020 RESULTS

The table below contains key details of the company’s financial performance in 2020.

Figures in CHF million 2020 2019
Net sales 90.5 262
EBITDA (loss) (44.6) 1.1
EBIT (loss) (58.1) (15.5)
Net profit (loss) (64.5) (22.9)
Incoming orders 44.3 188.3

Meyer Burger explained the EBITDA loss with the fact that operating costs were no longer in line with sales, which dropped due to the realignment. Regular depreciation, specific value adjustments on assets no longer in use, the financial result and a loss from investments in associated companies led to the wider net loss. The balance sheet structure, though, was stabilised by the CHF-165-million capital hike that was undertaken last year. The equity ratio at end-2020 was 87.5% and the company’s net cash position amounted to CHF 139.7 million.

Taking into consideration its capacity expansion plans, Meyer Burger expects to achieve annual sales of CHF 400 million-450 million and an EBITDA margin of 25%-30% in 2023.

(CHF 1.0 = USD 1.081/EUR 0.904)

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Ivan is the mergers and acquisitions expert in Renewables Now with a passion for big deals and ambitious capacity plans.

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