SMA Solar unable to meet demand in Q2, shares down

FRANKFURT Fri May 14, 2010 9:11am EDT

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - SMA Solar, the world's No.1 maker of solar inverters, warned it could not fully meet strong demand in the second quarter due to component shortages, sending its shares more than 2 percent lower.

"The inadequate supply of electronic components affects not only all inverter manufacturers but a number of other sectors as well," SMA Solar Technology AG Chief Executive Guenther Cramer said in a statement on Friday.

Inverters are key components which convert direct current generated from solar modules into alternating.

"As soon as the material supply situation has relaxed, we will be able to supply a considerably greater number of inverters within a very short term owing to our expansion of production capacities," he added.

SMA shares were down 1.9 percent at 92.85 euros by 0756 GMT, after dropping as low as 90.44 euros, as the negative comments on the second quarter countered forecast-beating results for the first quarter of the year.

Demand for solar products is rising as customers in Germany, the world's largest market, bring forward orders ahead of subsidy cuts in July, triggering concerns in the country's solar industry about how demand will develop once incentives are cut.

But production capacity around the world was lowered sharply last year, when the solar sector was hit by an unprecedented crisis caused by component oversupply and a slump in prices.

"The comments on Q2 are very disappointing since SMA can't fully make use of ... demand ahead of the subsidy cuts. Also it is unclear when the supply shortage will really be resolved -- SMA expects the situation to improve step-by-step in H2," DZ Bank analyst Sven Kuerten wrote.

SMA said in March it had a 43 percent share of the global market for solar inverters -- far ahead of unlisted Fronius International and Kaco new energy, the global No. 2 and 3 with a share of below 10 percent each, as well as other competitors such as Siemens and Schneider Electric.

SMA Solar still expects sales of between 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) and 1.3 billion and an operating margin of 20 to 23 percent this year.

First-quarter operating earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) came in at 92 million euros, beating the average estimate of 89 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

(Editing by David Holmes)

($1=.7872 Euro)

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