'Quiet' times for Singulus

German solar production equipment manufacturer Singulus Technologies – in what seemed more like a case of classic English understatement – described as ‘quiet’ a first quarter which featured a €6 million (US$8.2 million) fall in orders, compared to the first three months of last year.

Reporting its first-quarter figures yesterday, the Kahl am Main-based manufacturer – which makes optical disc production equipment and moved into solar with the acquisition of Stangl – said a ‘still weak photovoltaic market’, together with a seasonal, post-Christmas drop in demand for blu-ray-linked products, had contributed to disappointing figures.

Singulus pointed to predictions of a gentle upswing in demand for its solar products – and a first order from China for PERC cell coating equipment – as positives as it revealed three-month losses expanded to €6 million from €5.9 million in January-to-March 2013.

Sales for the latest quarter plunged from €22.8 million in the same period of 2013 to €16.7 million with losses before interest and tax (EBIT) widening from €4.9 million to €5.1 million and new orders falling from €15.6 million to €14.1 million, meaning the company’s order backlog was reduced from €20.3 million to €17.7 million.

The PERC order from Chinese company M.Cells was a rare piece of encouraging news in the update and shareholders will take little succour from the revelation the company is employing eight more workers than it was at the end of 2013.

A quiet quarter indeed.