12 Nov 2012
Despite semiconductor industry weakness, the German company’s laser and optical systems division reports solid business.
Jenoptik has reported improved sales and order backlog in the third quarter of 2012, in spite of what it called an “increasingly difficult” semiconductor market and weak demand from Europe.
The company, headquartered in Germany’s optics heartland of Jena, appears to be benefiting from its increased global presence. In the first nine months of 2012, sales from outside of Europe jumped by 46% compared with the same period last year, with CEO Michael Mertin saying that the expansion of the company’s international business is “beginning to pay off”.
Jenoptik has opened new offices in Brazil and Singapore this year, with expansions to existing sites also taking place in Asia and North America, plus the completion of a major investment in laser diode manufacturing capacity in Berlin.
Overall, the company posted sales of €139.3 million for the third quarter of the year – up more than 9% from €127.6 million in the same period last year. Of that total, €50.8 million was attributed to the lasers and optical systems segment, up very slightly on a year-over-year basis, with a much sharper increase in sales reported by the company’s metrology business unit.
Commenting on the year so far for the laser and optical systems segment, Jenoptik wrote in its financial report: “In addition to positioning itself as a supplier to the semiconductor manufacturing equipment industry, the segment is also increasingly attracting major customers from the flat-panel, automotive and life sciences industries.”
One example highlighting the expansion of both geographical and applications reach is a major order from an Asian displays manufacturer for complex optical systems, while Jenoptik also says that it has attracted “major” new customers with the launch of its three-dimensional metal processing systems. The company adds that a customer in the US has placed a large order for green disk lasers, to be used in medical applications.
Booming backlog within Jenoptik’s metrology unit is partly a result of a large order for traffic safety technology from the government of Oman. The agreement will see around 600 sites either equipped or upgraded with new Jenoptik technology, while the company will also supply image analysis software to interpret the data collected.
In its outlook for the rest of the year, Jenoptik highlighted that 2012 will be the worst year for car manufacturers in Europe for nearly two decades, with only 11.9 million new vehicle registrations now expected in western Europe – down from a prior estimate of 13 million by the Center for Automotive Research.
“[Auto] sales figures are generally expected to continue falling in Europe up to 2015,” the company warned. “German premium vehicle manufacturers are also expected to be increasingly affected by the sales crisis in Europe.”
Despite those concerns, Jenoptik still expects to see its 2012 sales grow by between 5% and 10% from the 2011 figure of €543.3 million, with group earnings before interest and taxes of between €50 million and €55 million also up on last year’s figure of €49.2 million.