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SMA Solar Plans Job and Cost Cuts Following Quarterly Loss

SMA Solar Technology AG, the world’s biggest maker of inverters, will cut jobs and costs to offset a quarterly operating loss and sales that dropped by half in the past year.

SMA needs to reduce headcount in its European sales and service business, with most of the cuts to take place in Germany, Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Pascal Urbon told analysts today on a conference call. The Niestetal, Germany-based company said it had a loss before interest and tax of 8.4 million euros ($11 million) in the first quarter of 2013.

“Measured in euro, the global photovoltaic market will decline in 2013 for the first time in many years,” Urbon said in a website statement. “As the global market leader, we will be especially affected by this. Therefore, we are forced to adjust the personnel structures to the changes in underlying conditions and the lower level of sales in the upcoming months.”

SMA, a Niestetal-based supplier of inverters that convert power from photovoltaic panels for use in the grid, in February predicted a “tough year” for the solar industry and said it may lose money in 2013, a forecast it confirmed today. Sales fell 48 percent to 212.31 million euros compared to the same period a year ago amid pricing pressure and falling subsidies and demand for solar energy in Europe.

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