06 Feb 2008
Demand for high-power sources and growth in Asia helped the company post record-breaking first-quarter figures for sales, income and orders.
“It was an outstanding quarter and a new record in sales.”
Revenues for Rofin-Sinar Technologies rose to $135 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2008, a rise of 21% over the same quarter last year. "It was an outstanding quarter and a new record in sales," commented chief executive officer Gunther Braun. "The weakening of the US dollar helped us, but even subtracting that effect we still showed an impressive 10% increase based on last year's exchange rates. I believe we're gaining market share compared to our US competitors."
Sales were particularly strong for the company's macromachining products, consisting of high-powered laser sources and systems with output powers of up to 8 kW. The quarter included a substantial order from a leading European automotive supplier which would not be repeated in subsequent results but even so the market remains strong, according to Braun.
"High demand for CO2 lasers in automotive and machine tool applications led to a 38% increase in sales for these products," he said. "Demand in Europe and Asia remains at a high level, especially in China which is now the largest regional market for our macromachining lasers. We have no reason to believe the market will change."
Smaller increases were recorded for Rofin's other product groups, including a 10% increase in sales of micromachining systems. Results from the component supply business for diodes, power supplies and fibre laser products from the newly-acquired Nufern were up "slightly, mainly due to the timing of orders and deliveries," according to Braun.
Economic conditions in North America led to a decrease in sales of 10% in the region, while sales in Europe and Asia rose by 32% overall. "Sales to Asia specifically rose by 55%, including a substantial 12.5% increase in China - a very nice number," Braun observed.
"Higher margins in micromachining products and a product range attractive to the semiconductor and integrated circuit markets were factors in our increased revenues," commented Ingrid Mittelstadt, chief financial officer. Higher productivity in the manufacture of high-power CO2 laser systems was also important, and the trend towards higher output powers helped to support prices. Mittelstadt said that R&D funding in the last quarter increased by $2.6 million to $8.8 million, mainly due to expenses related to fibre lasers and additional R&D expenses from the recently acquired companies.
Acquisitions are the other factor in Rofin's growth plans. "Nufern's acquisition, completed in January, has added core fibre and fibre laser technology to our portfolio," said Braun. "But our strategy for fibre lasers is unchanged by the acquisition, and we expect to introduce a 1 kW fibre laser using Nufern fibres during 2008. Nufern's customer base of speciality fibre customers will be maintained."