Several technology trends seen in the market, such as the shift from slurry based to diamond wire based cutting, the move to upgrade cell production with PERC applications to enhance cell efficiency, cell and module bifaciality and further increases in solar module efficiency show that the PV industry is in a technology-buy-cycle which Meyer Burger believes will continue for the time being.
The order backlog amounted to CHF 339.1 million ($349 million) as at June 30, 2017, compared to $250 million in 2H 2016.
Net sales reached CHF 212.3 million ($218 million) and were 2.5% lower compared to the previous year period (H1 2016 CHF 217.8 million). With the strong order backlog and substantial deliveries/customer acceptances scheduled by year-end 2017, the company expects a stronger second half year in net sales.
Operating income after costs of products and services amounted to CHF 98.2 million (H1 2016 CHF 107.2 million), with a margin of 46.3% for the first half of 2017 (H1 2016 49.2%).
EBITDA increased to CHF 6.9 million in the first half of 2017 (H1 2016 CHF 6.2 million). With the higher net sales and a number of cost reduction measures becoming fully effective in the second part of the year, Meyer Burger expects a substantially higher EBITDA contribution with an estimated EBITDA margin of >11% for the second half of 2017.
Cash flow from operating activities was again positive with CHF 3.5 million (H1 2016 CHF 15.4 million). The difference in the operating cash flow compared to the previous year period is mainly due to changes in net working capital.
Dr. Gunter Erfurt, COO, has been appointed new CTO. Dr. Dirk Habermann, chief innovation officer, will step down from the Executive Board and will become GM of the Dutch entity for Specialised Technologies, and head special projects regarding new technologies within the Group. Daniel Lippuner, former group CEO at Saurer Group in Shanghai, China, and Wattwil, Switzerland, will take over the role as COO. The changes will be effective as of 1 September 2017. As of that date, the Executive Board consists of Dr. Hans Brändle (CEO), Michel Hirschi (CFO), Michael Escher (CCO), Dr. Erfurt and Lippuner.
Based on the strong incoming orders, high order backlog and with substantial deliveries/customer acceptances scheduled for November and December 2017, Meyer Burger confirms its previous outlook for 2017 of a similar net sales level compared to the previous year. Based on the planned customer acceptances, Meyer Burger expects net sales of about CHF 440-460 million and EBITDA of about CHF 30-45 million for fiscal year 2017.