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Sales and profits up sharply again at Zeiss

16 May 2023

German optics giant now employs more than 40,000 people for the first time - and still has 2000 vacancies in Germany alone.

Continued strong demand from the semiconductor industry has propelled Zeiss Group sales to another new record of €4.84 billion for the six months ending March 2023.

The German optics giant, which now employs more than 40,000 people across its global footprint, reported a 41 per cent year-on-year jump in sales at its semiconductor manufacturing technology (SMT) division, to €1.66 billion.

And despite macroeconomic and geopolitical worries, each of Zeiss’ other three divisions was also able to post a rise in sales, albeit not with the same rate of growth as the SMT business.

The firm’s medical technology unit reported sales of €1.18 billion, up 11 per cent on the comparable period last year, with the industrial quality and research microscopy division up 8 per cent to €1.14 billion, and consumer sales up only slightly, to €800 million.

“Despite the current slowdown in the semiconductor market, the high demand for the products of the SMT segment remains unchanged and has a significant impact on the strong growth in revenue in this area,” Zeiss stated after delivering an 18 per cent rise in sales overall.

The firm performs a critical role in the semiconductor equipment supply chain, in particular providing the high-specification optics needed inside cutting-edge lithography tools assembled by ASML - which itself owns a 25 per cent stake in Zeiss SMT.

Approaching €10BN annual sales
Zeiss CEO Karl Lamprecht hailed the latest figures, which included a 25 per rise in half-yearly earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), to €917 million.

“We are continuing the Zeiss Group's dynamic growth from the previous year in the first half of 2022/23,” he said. “Our substantial expenditure on research and development and our investments in global infrastructure are important elements of our long-term growth strategy and underpin the company's positive development.”

Research and development spending in the latest half-year rose to another new high of €702 million, equivalent to nearly 15 per cent of sales.

Company CFO Christian Müller observed: “The half-year results also demonstrate that Zeiss is in a very stable and financially strong position, while continuing to invest heavily in the future - this includes increasing capacities, such as building up infrastructure and personnel.”

Despite employee numbers topping 40,000 for the first time, and up 6 per cent since last September, the company says it is still looking to add lots more people to its ranks.

“If the markets remain stable, we assume that growth will also continue in all four Zeiss segments in the second half of the fiscal year,” Lamprecht said.

“This growth is also reflected in our personnel requirements, where, for example, we are currently looking to fill around 2000 vacancies in Germany alone in order to continue to have the capacity to support our customers worldwide with innovative solutions.”

If Lamprecht and Müller are correct, and all four divisions do continue to grow between now and September, it could see the company’s annual sales figure exceed €10 billion for the first time.

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