Advanced Energy enjoys Q1 profit of $21.3 million

U.S. power conversion technology company Advanced Energy has posted a first quarter profit of $21.3 million after enjoying another record quarter in the semiconductor industry.

However, figures were not so rosy for Advanced Energy’s solar inverter business, which achieved sales of just $35.3 million in the first three months of the year – down 24.7% on Q4 2014 (when sales revenue hit $46.8 million) and down 39.3% year-on-year (Q1 2014 inverter sales were $58.1 million).

The company cites pricing pressures within the industry as cause for the suppressed inverter sales figures, allied to an inherent seasonality impact that had been expected. Further, the effect on sales of Advanced Energy’s “pursuit of strategic alternatives for this business” was also noted.

At the turn of the year, Advanced Energy announced that it would be exploring alternative strategies for its inverter business, prompting many industry insiders to suggest that the company was looking to depart the sector altogether. Thus far there has been no further movement on this, but the fraught inverter landscape has already forced through wholesale changes in some of the industry’s pure-play suppliers, such as market leader SMA, which is in the process of reducing its staff by one third.

More widely for Advanced Energy, the business is performing well, with Q1 sales coming in above forecast at $141.1 million – a slight year-on-year increase from $140.9 million posted in Q1 2014.

"With another record quarter in our semiconductor applications and a mix shift to higher margin products we drove significantly higher profitability this quarter," said Advanced Energy CEO and president Yuval Wasserman. "Our agile business model and diversity of applications allow us to effectively respond to changing market dynamics. With an enhanced management team, a growing number of opportunities in current and target applications, and ongoing global expansion, we are building upon our leadership position in precision power products."

Second quarter guidance projects sales of between $126 million to $136 million.