The company pointed to the successful approval of several large-scale projects before the end of the year as the reason for its unexpectedly strong annual balance sheet, as well as the implementation of the first measures of its strategic “challenge 23” concept. Both the parent and its FHR Anlagenbau subsidiary have succeeded in reducing costs and increasing their efficiency.
As for order intake in 2018, Centrotherm described demand from the semiconductor and microelectronics industries as positive. New orders in this business area doubled year-on-year to around €45 million — a company record. Larger investments in new production capacity for high-efficiency solar cells, however, did not materialize in 2018 because of China’s solar policy shift. The company reported €88.2 million of orders from the PV industry.
In 2019, the company wants to introduce new systems for PECVD and LPCVD processes, to enable solar cell manufacturers to achieve higher efficiency rates, as well as new solar cell concepts with passivated contacts. The group has also expanded its product range in other areas. The expansion of its presence in China is of particular strategic importance, it said. However, its technological know-how and R&D activities will remain in Blaubeuren, Germany, in addition to the production of essential plant components.
For fiscal 2019, the company’s management board anticipates positive developments in all sectors. It expects to record sales in the range of €90 million to €150 million, with a balanced or positive EBITDA.