Amtech lands order for PV manufacturing equipment

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Arizona-based Amtech Systems was careful to time Thursday’s announcement of a multi-million-dollar order for its PV manufacturing equipment to follow on the heels of a mixed trading update on its fourth-quarter and full-year figures.

At first glance, Amtech’s figures paint a disappointing picture with gross profit and net losses going in the wrong direction quarter on quarter – profits sliding from $3.15 million in Q3 to $2.6 million for a net loss that expanded from $2.15 million to $3.65 million.

The full-year figures however, compared with a tough 2013, hint at recovery with this year’s gross profits rising notably to $11.6 million from $4.3 million to bring in annual net losses from $21.7 million to $14.2 million, even if that is still some distance from an annual profit.

Net revenue, shipments and bookings were all on the rise, on a quarterly and yearly basis, although Amtech did point out the quarterly rises were in some part due to deferred revenue from the previous three months.

The planned acquisition of Massachusetts-based thermal processing equipment manufacturer BTU International, announced last month and which, Amtech says, will eventually provide increased revenue for its solar ambitions, meant a 20% rise in selling, general and administrative expenses, from $4.1 million to $4.9 million.

Following the financial update, the PV manufacturing equipment maker announced a deal to supply equipment, including plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) to Mission Solar Energy for the manufacture its high-efficiency n-type bifacial cells.

That deal is worth around $13-16 million but, despite the good news, the effects of a tough period for solar equipment manufacturers was spelled out in Amtech’s balance sheet, as of September 30.

Cash and cash equivalents fell from $37.2 million at the same point last year to $27.4 million, total current assets were down from $84.2 million to $65.4 million and total assets down from $110.9 million to $89.9 million.