LPKF bucks capex trend with higher solar equipment sales in 2014

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Laser equipment specialist LPKF reported strong sales to the solar industry in 2014, despite limited capital spending in the sector. 

LPKF said its Other Production Equipment segment, which houses subsidiary LPKF SolarQuipment, which is focused on thin-film module laser scribing technology and tools experienced a 31% increase in revenue and a 48% increase in profits in 2014.

However, despite the rebound in thin-film laser scribing tools after several years of very low sales to the sector, LPKF reported total group revenue of €120 million, down 8% year-on-year. 

LPKF expects to achieve revenue in the range of €128 million to €136 million in 2015. However, the company does not expect to match sales in the solar segment from last year, yet expected an upturn in orders and sales in 2016 and 2017. 

The company noted that scriber systems for thin-film solar cells grew by no less than 96.9% in 2014. 

Subsidiary, LPKF SolarQuipment was noted as receiving a major order laser scribing tool order valued at around €15 million in January, 2014 as well as further additional small orders throughout the year. 

According to PV Tech’s and Photovoltaics International ‘Effective capacity expansion report’ for 2014, around 2GW of thin-film production expansions were announced with three firms, Ascent Solar, Solar Frontier and Hanergy Solar announcing plans in January last year. 

LPKF also noted in its annual report that the majority of solar orders were received from China. Solar Frontier has its production plants located in Japan. 

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