Meyer Burger sees half year loss

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Margins remained under pressure due to the drop in prices for standard solar panel equipment, especially in the PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell) business. Meyer Burger is in advanced discussions with potential customers for its Heterojunction core solar panel equipment and SmartWire Cell Connection technology, but new order completions have been delayed.

Overall, business activity fell short of expectations siad the company. This led to a turnover of CHF 122m ($122m, €110) for the first six months of 2019, down from CHF 232.2m ($232.2m, €210m) in 2018. This included sales of CHF3m from the wafering business that was sold off. Despite a substantial reduction in costs, the result was a loss of CHF 14m compared to a profit of CHF 29.2m in the same period last year. 

“I am disappointed with our half-year results. We have however achieved a decisive breakthrough with the delivery of our Heterojunction and SmartWire cell connection technologies to REC. At the Intersolar in May 2019, they introduced their groundbreaking new solar module with an energy yield that leaves the PERC competition far behind. The pioneering module is manufactured with our technology at very competitive costs while achieving an industry-leading module performance. The first production line will soon be fully ramped up and the modules are already enjoying strong demand in the high-end segment. This success opens up new strategic opportunities for us,” said Dr Hans Brändle, CEO of Meyer Burger.

The company was looking on the bright side, with an order backlog was at CHF 166 million as of 30 June 2019, and so expected to break even on the whole year. However the newly constituted Board of Directors is conducting a thorough review of the company’s business model and corporate strategy; the results of which will be disclosed in due course.

Dr Remo Lütolf, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Meyer Burger, added: “Business development in the first half of 2019 underlines the need to challenge our business model and corporate strategy. We will evaluate all strategic options for the future. This includes discussions with industrial partners to develop new business models that create sustainable value for our company and our shareholders.”

The company is a significant investor in Oxford PV which is developing a production line for perovsite thin film solar cells.

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