Laser systems developer, LPKF sees red

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Reporting a weak Q2, LPKF Laser & Electronics has seen its losses mounting to more than $3 million for the first half of this year. At $47.08 million, the consolidated revenue for the first six months was down 7% from the previous year.

Incoming orders were also down significantly, compared to the prior year period. However, the company has stated it has to be taken into account that a large $16.66 million solar order contract that came in in 2014 must be considered a one-off thing.

LPKF develops laser and mechanical structuring tools, like the Allegro and Presto laser scribers for thin film solar cells, as well as equipment for other sectors like rapid PCB prototyping, LDS (laser direct structuring) prototyping and laser micromachining, among others.

The company booked a revenue fall of about 13% to $23 million before interest and taxes (EBIT), thanks to increased costs amounting to $3.77 million. Nevertheless, the solar and welding equipment product groups helped increase the revenue in the "other production equipment" segment by 25%.

Still the assessment by the management board shows that despite several positive signals, the solar market is still in crisis. And hence, the board anticipates a revenue and profit downturn in the solar segment for the current financial year. Major orders are expected to come in again 2016 onwards based on current projects.

Already a month ago, LPKF tuned down its yearly prognosis as a result of weak incoming order numbers. An overall loss for the full year was also not ruled out. In the first six months of 2015, the order intake was at $47.2 million. This figure was only half of what was recorded in 2014.

The main objectives at the moment have been identified as the need to preserve profitability and to return to growth numbers. The company has put initiatives in place that will lower costs in 2015 and reduce the break-even point to below $111 million in revenue.

According to the new guidance published in early July, the management at LPKF has calculated an annual turnover of $99 million to 122 million. The previous year saw a turnover of $132 million. The 2016 forecast is being reviewed by the board and will be announced with the upcoming quarterly report in November.

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