Applied Materials results show little sign of recovery in the PV equipment market

On Thursday, Applied Materials reported its financial results for its most recent quarter, which ended on October 26th, 2014. The quarter remained remarkably grim for the company’s Energy and Environmental Services (EES), which reported only US$48 million in revenues, and $44 million in new orders.

This is not unlike the difficult results reported by other leading PV equipment makers, showing that a recovery in PV equipment demand has not yet occurred.

It is also a far cry from where EES was before the industry downturn, when Applied was a leading global equipment maker. During the first three quarters of its fiscal year 2011, the division brought in more than $500 million per quarter.

The EES division reported a -6% operating margin during the quarter. This is a relatively minor loss, compared to a loss of -$433 million over the last four quarters, well in excess of its $279 million in revenue during the same period.

EES only made up 5% of Applied’s 2.92 billion order backlog at the end of the quarter, or around US$150 million. On its quarterly conference call, Applied scarcely mentioned the division, except to note a slight uptick in solar demand. The company instead is emphasizing its success with its SSG & Display divisions.

Applied also announced the German Competition Authority has approved the company’s merger with Tokyo Electron, which will take the name Eteris. Applied announced the planned merger over a year ago, but is still waiting on regulatory approvals in a number of nations, including the United States.