• SMA Solar, RWE HDAX biggest movers after 9-month sales
  • RWE says surprised by speed of German shift to clean energy

Germany’s “Energiewende” or Energy Shift left an echo in the HDAX of the nation’s 110 most highly capitalized companies, with clean energy and conventional power generation companies marking some of the day’s biggest movers.

Shares of SMA Solar Technology AG, the world’s biggest maker of solar inverters, soared as much as 17 percent Thursday after it said that nine-month orders returned it to profit before tax after a loss a year ago. RWE AG, Germany’s largest power producer, fell as much as 12.1 percent, the biggest drop in the HDAX, after saying 2015 profit will just meet its forecast after third-quarter earnings fell.

RWE and SMA Solar share moves YTD
RWE and SMA Solar share moves YTD
Nadine Skoczylas

Based near Kassel in central Germany, SMA benefited from Germany’s support of the solar industry and is now reliant on exports as solar energy expands in Europe and the U.S. Nine-month sales grew 27 percent compared with a year ago, said the company, whose competitors include General Electric Co. RWE makes most of its money from its conventional coal and gas plants.

While both SMA and RWE are trying to make money from renewable power, RWE is struggling with its reliance on conventional generation. Wholesale power prices have plummeted as clean energy surges into the power market, making inefficient plants less profitable. RWE has sought to rebuff criticism that’s it doing too little to anticipate the energy shift, pointing out its clean energy engagements.

Research Budgets

Still, its annual outlays on research and development added up to just 0.2 percent or 110 million euros of 2014 sales of 46 billion euros, the sector’s head Frank-Detlef Drake said Wednesday in Berlin. SMA Solar, with sales of 805 million euros last year, allocated 129 million euros or 16 percent on R&D.

Matthias Hartung, chief executive officer of RWE Generation SE, said late Wednesday in Berlin that the company was surprised by the speed of renewable energy’s expansion. Clean power may account for 33 percent of total consumption, a 20 percent rise on the year, the BDEW utilities federation said. RWE may close more power plants, Chief Financial Officer Bernhard Guenther said Thursday.

RWE has fallen 56 percent this year, plunging to the lowest level since at least 1992. It’s the biggest loser on the Stoxx 600 Utilities Index of 26 European companies, which has declined 3.3 percent since Jan. 1. RWE in September was booted out of the Euro Stoxx 50 Index of the region’s biggest companies.

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