Schletter Group continues to grow

The global solar mounting system manufacturer Schletter Group continued to grow in 2023. Despite the cyclical downturn in the market environment for roof systems in Europe in the second half of the year, the company was able to increase its annual sales by 13 percent compared to the previous year. At the same time, the company has concluded new financing agreements in the double-digit million range. In operational terms, Schletter 2023 pushed ahead with its diversification and developed important new products.

“The fact that we are continuing to grow even under the current market conditions underlines our sustained positive corporate development,” said Florian Roos, CEO of the Schletter Group. In the past year, Schletter had, among other things, pushed ahead with its diversification, so that in the second half of the year sales in the roof and ground-mounted business were almost the same. The company has also further optimized its processes, production, supply chains and logistics and made them more efficient. “This development not only makes us resilient to cyclical and regional fluctuations, but we are also very well positioned when the roof market in Europe picks up again.”

The last half of 2023 was characterized by significant restraint in the market for roof projects in Europe. Following a phase of very strong growth, call-off figures have fallen for all market participants. The background to this is that the implementation of PV projects has slowed down as a result of inflation, high interest rates and the lack of installers. At the same time, there is currently overcapacity on the market because many retailers had significantly increased their stocks in the previous months. Accordingly, roof sales at Schletter also declined slightly. “The long-term trend in the roof business in Europe remains positive,” emphasized Roos. “We expect to see a recovery in the second half of 2024.”

In the ground-mounted business, the Schletter Group achieved significant growth of 67% in 2023 compared to the previous year, thereby offsetting the declining roof business. A number of major projects have contributed to this. In the fourth quarter of 2023, Schletter concluded a number of further major orders for ground-mounted projects with fixed installations, including in Bulgaria (222 MWp), South Korea (117 MWp), Austria (82 MWp), the United Arab Emirates (70 MWp), the Dominican Republic (65 MWp) and Germany (50 MWp). The tracker business also achieved above-average growth with, among other things, two major projects in Bulgaria (28 MWp and 24 MWp). “We are seeing a continuous increase in demand for our high-quality and durable outdoor systems,” emphasized Roos. “This applies to our strongest markets, EMEA and APAC, but also to the Americas region, where we are gaining market share.” Overall, the Schletter Group generated around 78 percent of its turnover in EMEA, 20 percent in the Asia-Pacific region and 2 percent in the Americas.

The Schletter Group has secured additional financing to drive its long-term growth. The corresponding contracts with two well-known major banks were recently signed with a volume in the double-digit millions. This represents a further financing component in addition to the bonds of EUR 65 million placed at the end of 2022.  “The additional financing not only gives us the necessary funds to continue our dynamic corporate development, but also underlines the continued confidence in our strategy and business model,” says Schletter CFO Martin Lipp.

At product level, Schletter has continued to expand its portfolio in a targeted manner and thus further increased its market penetration: the company successfully launched its vertical agri-PV system SolFarm on the market in 2023. With SolFarm and the Schletter Tracking System, Schletter now offers its customers in the growing Agri-PV market two options. Schletter is also launching a new carport system with the Schletter SunRide. The system is characterized above all by its slim design and maximum utilization of the parking space. “The demand for solar carports will increase significantly over the next few years, partly because a number of countries are planning or have already adopted a ‘solar obligation’ for parking spaces,” says Roos. “We are ideally positioned for this with our new SunRide product.”

The Schletter Group also further improved its production and supply chain in 2023. Schletter has moved into a larger production site in Shanghai, for example, and further increased the output of its production site in Turkey. The two sites will contribute to production capacity more than doubling by the end of 2024 in comparison with the previous year. With a new logistics location in northern Germany, we were also able to expand deliveries in northern Europe and the UK. “With strategic measures such as these, we are continuing to work on increasing our clout as a company and further increasing our market share,” said Roos.

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