Aixtron: Strong start to 2022
79 percent higher quarterly sales in Q1
Aixtron SE, a provider of deposition equipment, starts the year with continued strong demand from all addressed end markets. Year-on-year, first quarter 2022 order intake as well as revenues, gross profit and net income all increased, partially significantly. Based on this development and in view of the positive business outlook, the Executive Board confirms the growth guidance for the full year 2022.
At €130.2 million, order intake in the first quarter of 2022 is at a very high level and was 5 percent above the order intake in the same quarter of the previous year (Q1/2021: €124.4 million). The strongest demand was recorded from the area of energy-efficient GaN power electronics, directly followed by the growth area of SiC power electronics. Likewise high demand came from optoelectronics for lasers for fast optical data communication and from the LED area including Micro LED. The order backlog in Q1/2022 increased by 16 percent year-on-year to €260.4 million (Q1/2021: €223.5 million).
Revenues of the MOCVD world market leader improved by 79 percent to €88.6 million (Q1/2021: €49.5 million) compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Equipment for the production of gallium nitride power electronics was the main revenue driver, followed by systems for data communication lasers as well as systems for the production of Micro LEDs and classic LEDs.
Strong earnings and financial position
Gross profit doubled year-on-year, increasing by 108 percent to €35.9m with a gross margin of 41 percent (Q1/2021: €17.3m). In the quarter, Aixtron increased its research and development (R&D) expenses to €14.1m (Q1/2021: €11.9m), in particular to bring next generation deposition equipment to market for various applications.
The operating result (EBIT) significantly increased year-on-year to €14.2 million (Q1/2021: €-0.7 million), corresponding to an EBIT margin of 16 percent of revenues. Net profit more than tripled to €13.8 million (Q1/2021: €3.8 million). This includes income from the capitalization of deferred taxes on tax loss carryforwards in the amount of €1.2 million. Earnings per share tripled and increased to €0.12 in the quarter (Q1/2021: €0.04).
At €22.4 million, free cash flow in Q1/2022 was €5.7 million lower than in the same quarter of the previous year (Q1/2021: €28.1 million), which was mainly due to higher inventories in preparation for the higher expected business volume in the coming quarters. Cash and cash equivalents including financial assets increased to €374.6 million as of March 31, 2022 (Dec. 31, 2021: €352.5 million).
The high equity ratio of 80 percent as of March 31, 2021 (Dec. 31, 2021: 80 percent) underlines Aixtron's financial strength.
A proposal will be made to the Annual General Meeting on May 25, 2022, to distribute a dividend of 30 euro-cents per share (2021: 11 euro-cents per share).
The number of employees in the Group increased to 737 as of March 31, 2022, from 718 as of December 31, 2021. The structural strengthening of the organization for further growth is thus well on track.
Growth guidance 2022
Due to the good business development in the first quarter and in view of the expectation of a positive development of demand for the financial year 2022, the Executive Board confirms the growth guidance issued. Accordingly, order intake is expected to be in a range between €520 million and €580 million. With revenues in a range between €450 million and €500 million, the Executive Board expects to achieve a gross margin of approximately 41 percent and an EBIT margin of approximately 21 percent to 23 percent of revenues in fiscal year 2022.
The expectations for 2022 are subject to the provision, that global crisis situations continue to have no significant impact on the development of the business.
"As expected, demand for our technologies continues to be strong", said Felix Grawert, CEO and president of Aixtron SE. "Our next generation systems in particular are very well received by our customers and make us very optimistic about their upcoming market introduction."
"Our strategy to prepare suppliers early for our expected growth is proofing effective and allows us to deliver our tools as planned and to confirm our growth guidance", says Dr. Christian Danninger, CFO of Aixtron SE. "We are well on track to realise our planned growth this year as announced."