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Profits up as Rofin ramps fiber laser sales

06 Aug 2015

New CEO Thomas Merk reports 29% sequential rise in unit sales of high-power fiber lasers.

A sharp increase in unit sales of both high-power fiber sources and ultrashort-pulsed lasers has propelled Rofin-Sinar to quarterly revenues of $132.5 million and higher profits.

Although the sales figure is actually slightly down on the same period last year, that masks the significant impact of currency rate fluctuations – with Rofin saying that on a constant-currency basis its sales would have risen 9 per cent year-on-year.

New CEO Thomas Merk, who took over from long-time incumbent Günther Braun at the start of last month, highlighted the improving profit figures in a statement issued by the industrial laser firm. He said:

"Our measures to increase efficiency and profitability are gaining momentum. Both net income and earnings per share rose by 78 per cent year-over-year, and we steadily improved our gross margin.”

The lower manufacturing costs of Rofin’s latest generation of fiber lasers are helping drive that profitability, with the higher-power modules making for more compact systems.

At the Laser World of Photonics trade show held in Munich just over a month ago, Rofin was one of several firms exhibiting new, higher-power multi-kilowatt fiber lasers. Its giant booth at the event included an 8 kW laser, while its 2.4 kW modules are now said to offer a wallplug efficiency of 43 per cent.

"The continued strong demand for our high-power fiber lasers – resulting in 29 per cent sequential growth in unit sales – shows that our technological advancements and vertical integration are paying off,” added the CEO. “Ultrashort pulse lasers are our second growth focus, with sales increasing by more than 50 per cent sequentially.”

Merk added that market pull from both the solar and medical device industries was strong in the latest quarter. However, good demand in North America and Asia was offset by the weak euro hurting European sales, which dropped 15 per cent year-on-year.

Streamlining cost structures
Perhaps mindful of the “activist” investor Silver Arrow Capital, which acquired a significant stake in Rofin earlier this summer, Merk added: “Further optimization of production costs and diversification of our product and applications portfolio should continue to strengthen our market position and cultivate future business growth. We remain vigilant for ways to streamline our cost structure and increase profitability.”

Some industry observers have suggested that Rofin has an unnecessarily complicated operating structure – a hangover from numerous acquisitions it has made over the years.

Rofin’s executives are expecting sales in the closing quarter of the company’s fiscal year, which ends in September, to come in at between $135 million and $140 million. That suggests the Nasdaq-listed firm will be posting full-year sales close to the lower end of its guided range of $515 million to $535 million.

However, overall profits are likely to be much-improved. In the first nine months of this year, net income of $26.5 million is more than double the figure of $13.2 million reported for the same period last year.

Despite the generally positive report from Rofin, the firm's stock price dipped slightly in early trading after the results were announced. Now at around $25 on the Nasdaq exchange, the company has a market capitalization of approximately $700 million.

• Rofin also launched a new family of laser workstations for welding polymers. Based around DILAS laser diodes and the existing “MPS” workstation, they operate at either 880 nm or 980 nm, with a continuous-wave power of up to 500 W. A pyrometric process control helps to maintain a constant welding temperature.

Berkeley Nucleonics CorporationSPECTROGON ABLaCroix Precision OpticsUniverse Kogaku America Inc.ECOPTIKAlluxaOptikos Corporation
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