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© batman2000 dreamstime.com Electronics Production | March 25, 2015

LPKF looks to the future after a difficult 2014

LPKF has come through a difficult financial year. A low volume of incoming orders in the Electronics Production Equipment segment coupled with the postponement of a major LDS project resulted in revenue of EUR 120 million, a YoY decline of 8%.
While EBIT fell by 45% to EUR 13 million, the company achieved an EBIT margin of no less than 11%. Despite a very strong fourth quarter revenue of EUR 40 million and an EBIT margin of 13%, LPKF just managed to achieve the reduced forecast for 2014 announced in October.

LPKF CEO Dr. Ingo Bretthauer: "This is clearly an unsatisfactory result for LPKF. We had originally planned to achieve a lot more during 2014, but weak incoming orders in two of our six product groups simply turned these plans upside down." Economic difficulties affecting end customers in South Korea and a lack of bulk orders for PCB Production Equipment were the main reasons for the decline in revenue.

In the Other Production Equipment segment, revenue rose by 31%. The Electronics Development Equipment segment exceeded expectations with revenues up by 20%.

Overall these successes were unable to compensate for the decline in the laser direct structuring (LDS) business in 2014, which ultimately led to LPKF's first drop in revenue for 11 years.

Despite the weaker business performance in 2014 Ingo Bretthauer and his fellow Management Board members now look confidently to the future. “Our growth drivers in the markets are intact, our company continues to be very profitable, and we are developing highly attractive new technologies,” says Bretthauer.

In 2015, LPKF will launch three new laser-based methods intended to stimulate growth from 2016 onwards.

Growth is also expected in LDS itself, however. The company is working hard on reducing the cost of the entire process to make it even more cost effective for customers. And LPKF sees the wearables and LED markets as something that offers particular potential.

A return to growth is expected in 2015, albeit at a more moderate tempo. Assuming a stable economic environment, LPKF expects to achieve revenue of EUR 128 to 136 million and an EBIT margin of 12% to 15% in 2015.

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