Rebounding solar manufacturing is resulting in growing orders for production equipment suppliers, with Amtech’s Q2 2016 confirming this trend. Despite the growing order books, Amtech has not been able to avoid a loss for the quarter.
Amtech booked $45 million in new orders in Q2 2016, up 26% QoQ and over 45% YoY. Of this, Amtech’s solar segment recorded $28 million in new bookings in Q2, up 22% QoQ and over 67% YoY.
"With those bookings, we now have a backlog of $67 million which is a 57% increase since December 31, 2015, and the highest in four years," said Amtech CEO Fokko Pentinga in a statement announcing the Q2 results. "We are positioning for the next wave of growth in solar with expectations to continue to expand our market reach, develop current and new customer relationships, and continue to be recognized as a market leader for our distinguishable technology solutions."
Amtech’s solar backlog stood at $51.3 million by the close of Q2 2016, up from $31.3 million at the beginning of year.
While order books are growing, Amtech has reported flat revenues. In Q2 2016 Amtech achieved revenues of $22.5 million, up only slightly on $22.1 million in Q1 and down on the $24.3 million Q2 2015 result. Gross margins are also flat, with 27% recorded, flat on a QoQ basis, and down 1% YoY. Amtech attributed the slightly reduced margin to "lower usage of previously reserved inventory in the solar segment."
The net loss of $1.5 million would hardly impress shareholders. However, it is a reduction from the $4 million loss recorded in Q1 2016 and $2.3 million in Q2 2015.
Amtech maintains unrestricted cash and equivalents of $31.8 million, up from $22.6 million at 2015’s close.
Subsidiary company Tempress, located in Holland, has been behind some of Amtech’s stronger solar bookings in 2016, with the company previously declaring a $22 million order, booked in Q1, for PECVD and diffusion tools. The majority of this order came from one "top tier" Asian manufacturer, although no further details were provided.
Amtech expects to register Q3 earnings of between $30 to $33 million, with gross margins in the mid 20% range. It did not indicate whether it expects to return to profit in 2016.