Q1 revenue for LPKF was €24.5 million, and the company posted a positive EBIT of €0.1 million, up from -€4.5 million YoY. LPKF has received several major orders for solar equipment during the quarter, posting €3.3 million in revenue for the quarter, noting that this segment has already surpassed revenue forecast for the whole of 2017.
Strong performance of the solar equipment segment has continued into the second quarter, with LPKF stating that it has received a further order valued at around €10 million in late April.
As a result of this performance, LPKF plans to expand SolarQuipment infrastructure at its site in Suhl, Germany. “Our success this year will depend to a large extent on how successful we are in processing the major orders for laser systems for solar cell structuring in good time,” notes CEO Ingo Brettbauer in his Chairman’s statement. “In the first quarter, we therefore decided to invest in the infrastructure of the SQ segment in Suhl within manageable limits. This capital expenditure is necessary in order to allow us to construct the extremely large and heavy solar systems.”
Given these quarterly results, LPKF is positive about a return to profit for full year 2017, after slipping into the red in 2015 and undergoing cost reduction measures last year. “We will continue acting with pronounced cost awareness in 2017,” says Brettbauer. “Our overriding short term objective is to return to profitability for 2017 as a whole. The first quarter shows that we have every opportunity to achieve this aim.
In its solar business, LPKF manufactures lasering systems for thin film production. Clients for the recent orders have not been named, however thin film production is currently gaining attention from manufacturers in Asia – fellow German equipment provider Manz also posted increased operating profit for the first quarter this week.