Manz writes-down solar business with €22.5 million hit on 2014 revenue results

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High-tech manufacturing equipment firm, Manz AG reported preliminary record 2014 full-year financial results while incurring a €22.5 million (US$25.4 million) depreciation hit on its solar segment and shifting c-Si PV equipment operations to China.

Manz reported record revenue of around €306 million (US$345.9 million) for 2014, up 15% from the previous year, exceeding the top range of guidance and driven by its equipment sales within the FPD and resurgent battery manufacturing sectors.

However, the company took a write-down of its solar segment to the tune of €22.5 million, which technically means almost a complete write-down of the business segment. Manz noted that its sales from its solar segment accounted for less than 5% of total revenue in 2014. 

“These depreciations will make it easier for us to transfer the existing technology to our Chinese subsidiary and to concentrate all major activities there in the crystalline technology segment in future,” said Dieter Manz, founder and CEO. “Thereby we follow the market requirements to deliver machinery that are produced locally. We are firmly convinced that in the future, China will be the largest market by far for the production of crystalline solar cells. Close customer relations is an important requirement for being able to again record significant growth in the intermediate term in this segment as well.”

The write-down included crystalline PV technology as well as its turnkey CIGS thin-film technology, which also included significantly lowering the operating costs related to its CIGSfab operations until an initial sale of the technology is achieved. 

Manz also took a €2.5 million write off on equipment sold to GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), after the company filed for insolvency over its sapphire manufacturing contract with Apple. 

As a result, the company posted a full-year negative EBITDA of €24.9 million and a positive EBIT of roughly €0.5 million, compared to a €3.1 million EBIT in 2013. 

Non-recurring negative special effects amounted to €33.2 million.

“After the collapse of the solar business, we managed to establish ourselves as a recognized supplier for well-known manufacturers of smart phones and tablet computers as well as their suppliers,” added Manz. 

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