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SMA Solar Falls Most in 2 Months as Earnings Miss Estimates

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- SMA Solar Technology AG, Germany’s biggest solar-energy company by market value, fell the most in two months in Frankfurt trading as profit missed estimates.

SMA Solar slid 11 percent to close at 48.09 euros, the steepest decline since Nov. 15. The company posted preliminary 2011 earnings before interest and tax of 240 million euros ($308 million), missing the 259 million-euro average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Suppliers of solar-power equipment, including SMA Solar and the U.S.’s Power-One Inc., saw profit squeezed last year as subsidy cuts and lower prices weighed on sales. Niestetal-based SMA, whose inverters turn power from solar panels into a current for the grid, reported 2011 revenue of about 1.7 billion euros.

“The weak Ebit margin of below 15 percent is a clear sign of ongoing pricing pressure in the inverters market that will very likely continue in 2012,” Alla Gorelova, an analyst at Steubing AG in Frankfurt, said by phone.

SMA, which published its preliminary results in a statement today, didn’t give a forecast for 2012 earnings or sales because of the “numerous changes in important markets and uncertainty caused by the current euro and financial crisis.” The company sees “positive growth” in the U.S., Japan and India, it said.

Germany, the world’s biggest market for solar products, installed a record 3,000 megawatts of solar panels in December as developers rushed to complete systems before a subsidy cut. That brings German capacity installed last year to 7,500 megawatts, helping SMA achieve “the second-best earnings in the company’s history,” it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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