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Rofin places increasing importance on Asia

06 Aug 2010

Rofin-Sinar sees its net sales rise 44% year-on-year with strong demand from Asia playing a key role.

A year on from the lowest point of the general economic downturn, Rofin-Sinar Technologies has posted a net income of $9.7 million for its third quarter of fiscal 2010. This compares with a loss of $4.9 million in Q3 of fiscal 2009. Quarterly net sales totaled $110.3 million, a 44% increase year-on-year, and approximately $5 million above previous guidance for the quarter.

According to chief executive officer and president Günther Braun, larger volumes in all areas of the company’s business helped to deliver these numbers. In particular, Rofin saw an increase in sales to the machine tool, semiconductor, electronics and photovoltaics industries and strong and continued demand from Asia.

“Asia is becoming a more and more important geographical area for Rofin,” Braun told investors. “Sales to Asian countries increased by 140% to 30% of quarterly sales and reached $41.6 milllion with all of the industries we serve contributing. Demand was strongest in China, Taiwan and Singapore with sales in China at an all-time dollar-value high accounting for 20% of quarterly sales. In China, demand came from the machine tools, solar and electronics industries. In Taiwan it was mainly semiconductor but all other countries such as Singapore, Japan and Korea contributed to these remarkable numbers.”

It is also worth noting that the strengthening of the US dollar, mainly against the Euro, resulted in a decrease in net sales of $4 million in the third quarter.

Commenting further on the Q3 results, company chief financial officer Ingrid Mittelstädt said that Rofin’s gross profit for the quarter was 38.9% of net sales compared with 34.7% in Q3 2009. Revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 are expected to be in the range of $115 to $120 million and gross profit could reach 40% of net sales. For fiscal 2010 as a whole, Mittelstädt is confident that Rofin can achieve revenues of $415 million to $420 million.

Fiber laser shortfall
On closer inspection of Rofin’s income statement, sales within the company’s two main divisions have increased compared with the third quarter of fiscal 2009. Sales in the macro area were mainly driven by demand in the machine tools industry and came in at $42.9 million compared with $31 million in Q3 2009. In terms of micro/marking, sales of $55.5 million in Q3 2010 compared with $35.2 million in the same quarter in 2009 thanks to a general improvement in the semiconductor, solar and electronics markets.

According to Braun, Rofin shipped 913 lasers in Q3 2010 compared with 483 lasers in Q3 2009. This breaks down as 380 versus 203 for macro and 533 versus 280 for marking and micro. “Fiber laser systems and sources of all powers were 6% of quarterly laser product sales,” he commented. “Automotive was flat in Q3 for us as we don’t have the mid-multi-kW fiber lasers for welding applications, but once these come online in 2011 we expect business to increase slightly. It is not just a case of a production ramp-up, we also have to reduce material costs. Laser diodes are the most expensive part and the target is to lower costs there.”

About the Author

Jacqueline Hewett is a freelance science and technology journalist based in Bristol, UK.

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