Meyer Burger narrows loss, increases revenue, orders in 2014

Swiss equipment manufacturer Meyer Burger Technology on Thursday reported reduced net losses and improved sales last year following a very difficult 2013.

The company lowered its net loss by 17% to CHF 134.7 million ($141.8 million) while increasing revenue by 56% to CHF 315.8 million.

Meyer Burger said its bottom line was squeezed by negative effects from special items, including restructuring measures and the bankruptcy of U.S. company GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), which had placed significant orders with the company before filing for Chapter 11 last year.

Upturn in demand

Meyer Burger nevertheless reported a 13% increase in incoming orders of CHF 326 million. The company said new orders reflected an upturn in demand, especially for PV upgrade technologies and specialized technologies. The positive trend continued during the first months of 2015, the group added.

Sales in Asia accounted for the highest percentage of Meyer Burger’s revenue, rising from 45% in 2013 to 49% last year. Europe made up 27%, down considerably from 40% in 2013. Sales grew in the U.S., where they increased from 14% to 24%.

GTAT bankruptcy results in undelivered orders

The company said its operating income after costs of products and services amounted to CHF 133.5 million, up from CHF 102.5 million the previous year. The margin dropped by 8.3 percentage points to 42.3%, which Meyer Burger attributed to high production efforts, including the manufacturing of machines and costs of materials, in connection with the GTAT orders. GTAT’s bankruptcy in October — triggered after a major sapphire deal with Apple Inc. went south — left Meyer Burger sitting on a large number of machines ready for delivery as well as diamond wire materials, which the company wrote off. The normalized margin without these effects would have been at about 50%, the company added.

GTAT’s bankruptcy proceedings are ongoing and Meyer Burger said it was in extensive negotiations with the company “to define the amount that Meyer Burger is owed by GTAT.”

Outlook

Meyer Burger is aiming to achieve revenue of CHF 400 million and a break-even at the EBITDA level this year. The company also announced a long-term target of CHF 1.3 billion and EBITDA margins of between 13% and 15% in 2020.