Intevac expecting follow-on orders for ‘MATRIX’ PVD system

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High-technology manufacturing equipment specialist, Intevac said in its fourth quarter 2014 earnings call that it’s first ‘MATRIX’ PVD system is nearing customer qualification and sign-off that could lead to further tool orders as the customer plans for capacity expansions. 

An unidentified tier 1 PV manufacturer selected Intevac’s new MATRIX PVD system for solar cell metallisation processes back in late 2013 and was shipped in 2014. 

Management noted in the call that they expected final customer acceptance of the sputtering tool in the first quarter of 2015, leading to its first revenue recognition in the PV industry. 

“In our guidance for Q1 we have conservatively arranged this revenue event as it is subject to our customers schedule which is not in our control,” noted Wendell Blonigan, president & CEO of Intevac. “Our objective for 2015 is to continue to work with our customer, supporting their activity to validate their device and production line performance, provided our customer is successful, their plan is to build out significant capacity with our tools. This would be a sizeable project and would allow us to recover the total investment in the MATRIX platform.”

According to Blonigan in the earnings call the company was in talks with other potential PV manufacturing customers in relation to the PVD tool and estimated a sales opportunity for the system of over US$100 million. 

Management also noted that it had been focused on joint development programs with potential PV customers in respect to its ‘ENERGi’ ion implantation production system, which its first customer in Asia qualified in mid-2013. 

“This program entails working with our customers to implement our technical solutions into their next generation solar cell manufacturing flow,” added Blonigan. “This joint technology development approach allows us to offset our investments as we retire technical program risk. If successful we estimate the SAM (Serviceable) Available Market) for this niche application to be around US$50 million over the next several years with a complete payback of our ongoing investment in this initiative in the first planned factory that [is] built.”

Intevac reported fourth quarter revenue of US$19.1 million on a net loss of US$14.4 million. Full-year revenue was US$65.6 million on a full-year net loss of US$27.4 million. The company guided 2015 revenue to be inline with 2014. 

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