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SMA Solar Has Capacity for M&A in Power Plant Services

SMA Solar Technology AG wants to buy more power-plant operations and maintenance contracts as the biggest maker of inverters used by solar farms seeks to expand its service business to counter falling sales.

SMA, which today reported widening losses from a year ago, is interested in buying groups in Europe’s key solar markets including Germany, Spain, France, Italy and later the U.K., Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Pascal Urbon said today in a phone interview. The company based in Niestetal, Germany, bought Phoenix Solar AG’s European O&M unit yesterday.

“We want to expand this business in Europe as it’s offering an attractive margin and we can benefit from our installed base,” Urbon said.

While SMA is also interested in U.S. assets, there aren’t many available, he said. SMA operates about 200 megawatts of capacity in the U.S. and has 25 percent to 30 percent of the inverter market there, he said.

SMA has cut jobs, is reducing costs and looking for fresh revenue streams to counter falling sales in Europe. The company yesterday announced it would buy Phoenix Solar’s European operations and maintenance activities including customer contracts in Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

SMA sees demand for inverters picking up in the second half after low sales and price declines in the first six months of the year. Key growth markets will be North America, England and Japan, where SMA may boost its market share to as much as 10 percent, from about 5 percent last year, Urbon said.

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