AIXTRON SE, a provider of deposition equipment to the semiconductor industry, last week announced revenues and minimal EBIT loss for the fiscal year 2012.
A slow recovery of revenues but a virtually flat order intake throughout the year reflects a reluctant investment attitude by customers and a continuation of macroeconomic uncertainty, said AIXTRON officials. Despite an improving market consensus on the potential outlook for the back end of 2013, management is unable at this stage to offer a precise revenue and EBIT margin guidance for the year, due to the prevailing low visibility.
Management expects demand for MOCVD production equipment to potentially improve as demand for LEDs increases later in the current year. On the same timeline, management also foresees incremental equipment demand coming from non-LED emerging MOCVD applications and other technology markets, including silicon and organic semiconductor applications. Nevertheless, the exact timing of that order intake pickup is difficult to predict whilst order visibility remains so low.
“2012 proved to be an exceptionally challenging year for AIXTRON, largely due to the severe and extended macroeconomic headwinds that the whole world has been suffering from,” said Paul Hyland, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIXTRON. “Our original expectation that 2012 would develop into a transitory year with the prospect of a significantly better second half has evidently not materialized.
However, the ongoing, albeit low level of demand seen in the second half of 2012 and into 2013, has AIXTRON’s management believing they have reached the bottom of the current cycle. Officials from AIXTRON say it is reasonable to expect to see further market recovery at some point during 2013, driven by increasing demand for LED manufacturing equipment.
AIXTRON also believes they will see an increased demand for the equipment for non-LED applications. AIXTRON management plans to focus now on cost control and cash flow, while continuing R&D investments into future market opportunities.