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SMA announces over 400 job losses, China closure

SMA Solar technology AG has announced that around 425 full time jobs or 12.8% of its global workforce will be lost as part of its restructuring efforts. The PV inverter manufacturer will also discontinue operations in China, preferring to refocus its efforts on Germany.

In September, the Germany-based manufacturer announced restructuring measures and lowered 2018 forecasts. At the time, it did not divulge any specific details. Then on December 3, it again revised its FY guidance down.

Now today, echoing similar moves made in 2014, when it reduced guidance twice and shed over 600 jobs, SMA has said that around 425 full time job losses will be made, out of a total of 3,307. Over a 100 of these relate to positions in Germany, and more than 300 in foreign locations.

The redundancies will be made from January 2019, pending approval from the works council.

The company will also leave China and sell its “companies” to the management there. In December 2012, SMA announced it had acquired a majority stake – 72.5% – of China-based inverter company, Jiangsu Zeversolar New Energy Co., Ltd for around €40 million in cash. pv magazine has requested more information from SMA on whether more companies are involved.

As the company said in September, the changes are being made in order to “return SMA to profitability quickly in an environment characterized by a sharp decline in prices.” It cites the the market downturn in China, which resulted in “enormous excess capacity”, rapidly declining prices and postponed projects on the back of the country’s 31/5 PV policy change for its current situation.

“Our deliberations with regard to restructuring centered on the issue of location. With the measures that have now been resolved, the SMA Managing Board is demonstrating its commitment to Germany as a business location,” said CEO Jürgen Reinert in today’s statement.

He continued,“The measures are aimed at reducing SMA’s fixed costs and making optimal use of our capacity at the headquarters by focusing on our core competencies, outsourcing and automating activities, and reorganizing structures. Unfortunately, the reduction of the global workforce by around 425 full-time positions is unavoidable in this context.

“The sale of the business units in China to the management there will create good conditions for the positive further development of business on both sides. In order to secure SMA’s success in the long term, we will increasingly press ahead with the process begun to develop the company into a systems and solutions provider and will continue to invest in the future-oriented areas of energy management, storage integration, repowering, and digital business models.”

Source: pv magazine