Manz reports record revenues, but still experiencing losses

In the third quarter of the year, Manz achieved a revenue of €53.8 million (€18.4 million in 2009), while total operating revenues hit €54.9 million (€21 million in 2009). Third quarter EBIT, on the other hand, reduced from €-3.5 million in 2009 to €1.8 million in 2010.

The company cited new products, such as its Speedpicker and OneStep Selective Emitter technology, as having boosted revenues, although it did add that the overall situation in the industry had improved.

Manz went on to say that its continued goal is to find a "first customer" for its CIGS production lines (CIGSfab), which would allow it to "take the next crucial step toward positioning the company as a manufacturer of turnkey, integrated production lines for CIGS thin film solar modules".

In terms of its crystalline solar cell segment, the company said that demand is growing for its Speedpicker technology. Currently, it says its has sold 30 of the systems to Asian customers.

Additionally, it said, its OneStep Selective Emitter technology – which reportedly increases the efficiency of crystalline solar cells by up to 0.5 percent – has been met with "great approval".

The company explained: "Several large solar cell manufacturers are currently testing the selective emitter technology in actual operations. We are extremely pleased with the test results and the positive feedback we have received from our customers, and we expect a large number of follow-up orders for this equipment in the future."

Moreover, the company has said it is preparing to deliver additional systems in the coming months. "As a result," it said, "[Manz] will reach an installed base of more than ten back-end lines for manufacturing crystalline solar cells during the course of 2011."

Manz then went on to explain that it has dropped “Automation” from its corporate logo, in order to reflect the company’s move to become a supplier of system solutions, although automation is “still one of Manz’s core areas of expertise”.

Positive outlook

Despite recording losses, the company remains positive for the rest of the year, stating that it has raised its 2010 fiscal year forecast to between €170 million to €175 million, up from €140 million.

It added: “Depending on further market developments, particularly in the field of thin film technology, we still have the potential to even exceed these targets. At the same time, we are also striving to achieve a slightly positive EBIT for the fiscal year. With liquid assets of €42.1 million and an equity ratio of 69 percent, Manz remains extremely well financed."

In a letter to its shareholders, the company said: “For Manz Automation, the first nine months of 2010 were all about the economic recovery, which had positives effects on our company’s operations."

Going on to highlight the importance of research and development, it added: "In addition, trends in our solar division have also been positive during the past few months, and the division has once again been responsible for the lion’s share of our orders, contributing 49 percent.

"We have been confronted with increased pressure on prices and margins, however, and this is also reflected in our profits. Thanks to a variety of new products that we have developed (…) we have been able to successfully counteract these trends. As a result, investing in research and development will continue to be of great importance, in order to safeguard our future earnings potential."