Large fourth-quarter intake sets stage for growth at Roth & Rau in 2010

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A slowdown in capacity expansions in 2009 meant PV equipment supplier Roth & Rau posted lower revenue last year than in the previous year of 2008. Revenue in 2009 was €197.9 million, compared to €272.1 million in 2008. However, order intake in the fourth quarter of 2009 was strong, especially from Asia-based customers, the company said. This enabled its order intake to remain close to its 2008 levels, declining only 3.9% in 2009. New orders were €195.6 million in 2009, compared to €269.7 million in 2008. The first weeks of 2010 also witnessed an improved climate in the sector, the company said in a statement, covering 2009 preliminary results.

Roth & Rau was active in acquiring companies in 2009 to boost its product and technology offering as well as spending in future R&D activities. The company expects to benefit from these developments in the coming years.

“We have upheld our growth strategy in spite of the economic crisis in the past year and have invested heavily in expanding personnel capacities, research and development activities and acquisitions,” remarked Carsten Bovenschen, CFO of Roth & Rau. “We deliberately accepted the charge on operating earnings as a result of these investments so as to further boost our long-term competitive position. In view of this, we are satisfied with the development in the margin.”

“Demand for both single equipment and turnkey production lines is noticeably picking up once again,” noted Dietmar Roth, CEO. “We expect to see further new orders in the coming months, especially in Asia. We were able to significantly expand our international service and sales network as well as our technology and product portfolio in the past year, as a result of which we are now superbly positioned for further growth in the global photovoltaics market.”

However, the drop in sales in 2009 is unlikely to impact its PV equipment market share position, which VLSI Research previously reported the company to be the seventh largest in the industry. This is due to companies ahead of Roth & Rau in the rankings having much higher revenues. Although some may post lower revenue for 2009, it is doubtful that this will change the ranking position for Roth & Rau in 2009.

The market research firm has yet to release its Top 10 OEM rankings for 2009, however both Applied Materials and centrotherm photovoltaics (ranked one and two, provisionally) increased sales in 2009.

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