Garbsen, March 23, 2022 - In the 2021 financial year, LPKF Laser & Electronics AG achieved consolidated revenue of EUR 93.6 million (previous year: EUR 96.2 million) and a balanced result at the lower end of the forecast adjusted in December 2021. As indicated towards the end of the year, logistics bottlenecks in the fourth quarter resulted in sales of around EUR 8 million being postponed to fiscal year 2022, more than EUR 6 million of which came from the Solar segment. As a result, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of EUR 0.1 million were clearly below the previous year's figure of EUR 7.5 million. The past financial year was operationally impacted by the economic consequences of the Corona pandemic as well as disruptions in global supply chains. Despite careful planning and a flexible response to changing conditions, LPKF was unable to escape the effects of this environment.
At the same time, strong incoming orders underlined the appeal of LPKF's technology and product portfolio. At EUR 117.9 million, incoming orders were 15.2 % above the previous year's level. The book-to-bill ratio stands at 1.2. The order backlog has reached EUR 62.6 million at the end of the year, a 64 % increase over the previous year.
CFO Christian Witt explained: "We had set ourselves ambitious financial targets for 2021, which we did not achieve despite all our efforts and precautionary measures. We cannot be satisfied with this. The ongoing issues with the shipment of finished goods and the procurement of raw materials and components have compromised our results especially in the last quarter of the year. Our customers were also affected by material shortages and delayed investments. On the otherhand, we achieved outstanding sales growth and earnings in the Welding segment. With the high order backlog in the Group, we are well positioned to achieve strong growth in 2022. We also made great progress in the development and marketing of our LIDE technology, the digitization of business processes to scale our operations, and with the introduction of ESG standards."
Klaus Fiedler, CEO and Chairman of LPKF's Management Board since January 1, 2022, said: "Customer interest in our solutions is high and the rising order numbers give us confidence. At the same time, we expect that disruptions in global supply chains and the impact of the war in Ukraine on some of our target markets will continue to require our full attention in 2022. Thanks to the targeted continuous development of our product portfolio and our focus on growth markets, LPKF is well positioned to participate in the megatrends of miniaturization, digitalization and cleaner production in its core business. With LIDE and ARRALYZE, we also have innovations with high market potential for which tangible milestones in customer acquisition have already been reached. We now need to exploit the opportunities offered by these technologies through a carefully planned and consistently implemented strategy for further market development."
The Management Board and the Supervisory Board believe that in the current business climate, investments in LPKF's innovative technologies are essential to enable sustainable and profitable growth in the coming years. For this reason, the Board of Managing Directors will propose to the Annual General Meeting on 19 May 2022 that no dividend be paid for the 2021 financial year. The resulting financial resources are to be used specifically to accelerate the development and commercialization of future technologies to fuel growth.
Against the backdrop of the present political and economic environment, the ability to plan and predict the development of LPKF's business is significantly limited in most of its segments. In the current uncertain environment, LPKF expects consolidated revenue of EUR 110 - 130 million and an EBIT margin of between 2 - 7 % for the 2022 financial year.
For the first quarter of 2022, LPKF expects revenue between EUR 22 - 26 million and an EBIT in the range of EUR -2 to 1 million.
During 2021, LPKF invested further in the development and commercialization of key technologies. In the Electronics and Solar segments, for example, two new technologies have made it possible to significantly increase customers' production throughput. In the Development segment, the ProtoLaser H4, a fully integrated desktop solution for rapid prototyping, was developed. The Welding segment strengthened its position in the medical technology sector through process innovations.
Furthermore, the company has specifically increased capacities for the marketing of LIDE technology (Laser Induced Deep Etching). Based on the order received in June from a customer in the semiconductor industry, high-volume production of semiconductor components will begin this year. A development agreement for glass processing with one of the world's largest display companies was signed in December 2021, another important milestone for the planned growth in this segment. In March 2022, LPKF also signed a framework agreement with a leading customer in the semiconductor industry.
Promising new developments also include ARRALYZE technology, which addresses the fast-growing life sciences market. In 2021, LPKF developed the CellShepherd, a full solution that enables LPKF for the first time to address the high demand for scalable single cell screening for high-growth applications such as cancer therapy and personalized medicine. In February 2022, the CellShepherd was unveiled in Boston at a leading laboratory automation trade show, where it attracted significant interest. In the second half of 2022, the system will be available to selected customers and partners. LPKF expects relevant revenue of ARRALYZE products from 2023 on.
In the Welding segment, LPKF recorded an increase in revenue of 55 % to EUR 27.4 million. New customers also ensured the use of the systems for plastic welding in new, promising application areas such as batteries and medical devices. EBIT reached EUR 3.0 million, following a loss of EUR 2.8 million in the previous year. At EUR 32.0 million, the Electronics segment achieved sales at the level of the previous year. Due to the high investments in the expansion of LIDE technology, the segment closed the fiscal year with a negative EBIT of EUR 0.8 million. The Development segment generated sales of EUR 22.1 million, on a par with the previous year (EUR 22.5 million), but operating profit fell from EUR 2.9 million to EUR 1.2 million. Here, too, investments in new technologies, especially in ARRALYZE, were responsible for the decline in earnings. The Solar segment was particularly affected by temporarily postponed projects and bottlenecks in global logistics. Sales of laser systems for structuring solar modules fell by 50.2% to EUR 12.1 million with an EBIT of EUR -3.3 million. Most of the postponed projects have already been delivered in January.
The Annual Report is available in German and English.
LPKF Laser & Electronics AG is a leading provider of laser-based solutions for the technology industry. Laser systems from LPKF are crucial for the production of printed circuit boards, microchips, automotive parts, solar modules and many other components. Founded in 1976, the company is headquartered in Garbsen near Hanover, Germany, and is active worldwide through subsidiaries and representatives. LPKF Laser & Electronics AG shares are traded on the SDAX of Deutsche Börse (ISIN 0006450000).