Manz Automation AG with strong revenue growth and new orders totalling around EUR 50 million

05/12/2011 17:42:00 CEST

  • Revenues almost tripled on year-on-year comparison to reach EUR 62.0 million; EBIT of EUR 0.2 million achieved
  • Acquisition of new orders in the volume of around EUR 50 million; Order backlog grows to more than EUR 150 million
  • Manz awarded order for plants to produce electrochromic “dynamic glass” – Synergy effects from deployment of thin film technology

Manz Automation AG, one of the world's leading providers of production systems for the photovoltaic and flat panel display (FPD) industry, almost tripled its revenue in the first three months of 2011. With the view to the upcoming months, all indicators point to further growth, too. Thus it has been possible to win orders in the volume of around EUR 50 million. Along with systems to produce touch panels, automation and process systems for the manufacture of crystalline solar cells, the company has successfully tapped synergy effects in the thin film area with a first order from SAGE, a US manufacturer of dynamic window glass that changes tint to optimize daylight and improve the human experience within buildings. Overall, the order backlog of the company meanwhile increased to more than EUR 150 million.

In the period under report Manz Automation generated revenues of EUR 62.0 million (previous year: EUR 21.3 million). In addition, total operating revenues were boosted by more than 90% to reach EUR 65.4 million (previous year: EUR 34.3 million). In sum, and particularly due to the significant year-on-year operating improvement, Manz Automation achieved positive earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of EUR 0.2 million, following an EBIT loss of EUR -3.3 million in the previous year. When taking a slightly negative net financial result of EUR -0.1 million into account, earnings before tax (EBT) stood at EUR 0.1 million (previous year: EUR -3.2 million). After deducting tax and minority interests, there was also a marked improvement in the net consolidated loss to EUR -0.7 million (previous year: EUR -2.7 million). The company also generated operating cash flow of EUR -16.4 million during the first three months of 2011 (previous year: EUR -8.0 million). This change is primarily due to higher working capital requirements as part of the business expansion, and a reduction in trade payables.

Martin Hipp, CFO of Manz Automation, attributes the positive trend on both the revenue and earnings sides to several factors: "Along with a significant expansion of our operating business, we are increasingly benefiting from the cost-reduction measures that we successfully launched during the past years, including in the purchasing function, for example, as well as in the components standardisation area. The marked year-on-year improvement in capacity utilisation in all of our business areas also contributed to our return to the profitability zone." Martin Hipp went on to add: "We are currently experiencing demand recovery across all business areas. Along with the flat panel displays area, which is again on a record path, the solar area is particularly strongly positioned. For the SpeedPicker alone, which we developed in 2010, current order volumes amount to a total of around 300 systems."

Through the first order from SAGE, a new application to Manz's thin-film production technology will be added. The manufacturing of this energy-saving glass, utilises systems nearly identical to those for producing thin film solar modules. The technology will be installed in the world’s largest and most advanced dynamic glass manufacturing plant that SAGE is constructing in Minnesota with the Saint-Gobain Company from France. With the help of Manz’s technology, the new plant will be able to produce dynamic glass in high volumes and in large commercial architectural sizes at an affordable cost for the first time.

The companies selected Manz Automation as their partner due to Manz’s many years of expertise in thin-film production equipment. Manz will deliver its complete product range to create a production line – ranging from laser structuring, laser edge isolation, wet chemical cleaning systems to the related automation. These orders comprise a total volume of around EUR 12.5 million. Manz hopes to win further orders from this area, which is still in its infancy, and which is anticipated to generate dynamic growth. The utilisation of glass that can be tinted according to requirements allows enormous CO2 and cost savings to be made, particularly in warm regions. The light permeability of a facade can be reduced in strong sunlight, thereby drastically reducing the energy consumption of air conditioning systems, for example.

Dieter Manz, CEO of Manz Automation AG, is also delighted about the final establishment of the OneStep Selective Emitter technology in the crystalline solar cell area: "It is almost precisely one year to the day since we delivered our first OneStep Selective Emitter to our pilot customers. With the subsequent verification of this technology in a mass production context, we have proved the new system's performance. This is impressively underlined by new orders from Asia for the acquisition of totally nine selective emitter production systems in combination with the related automation, the SpeedPicker – entailing a total order volume of around EUR 12 million that will become effective in terms of sales and earnings in the current financial year." With its OneStep Selective Emitter, Manz is making a significant contribution to improving crystalline solar cells' efficiency. A sustainable efficiency enhancement of 0.5 percentage points was proven during production. At the same time, the process to generate selective emitters that Manz has developed offers the by far lowest production costs, in the company's own assessment, and thus helps to improve solar manufacturers' profitability.

The company also continues to benefit unabated from the high growth dynamics in the touch panel technology area. Follow-up orders came from major Asian manufacturers in the flat panel field. "With the supply of wet chemical cleaning systems and automation solutions, we are again underscoring our strong market position in this region. Our production capacities in the Far East are excellently utilised with individual orders totalled EUR 15 million. Large order intakes in the reporting period are responsible for a steady high order backlog, despite of already strong revenues in the first quarter.

In view of the promising start to the current business year, the Managing Board anticipates revenues of between EUR 240 million and EUR 250 million for the full year, and an EBIT margin of at least 5%, thereby implying a further profitability improvement. Depending on market trends in the thin film technology area, there is also the potential to exceed the aforementioned targets.

The complete 3M 2011 report can be downloaded from today from the company's website at, within the section "Investor Relations".

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