Aixtron reports continued revenue growth in LED equipment

Aixtron saw its revenue grow by a third in the first quarter of 2011, and believes it is well placed to benefit from ongoing LED industry expansion in China.

Driven by a continuing high level of demand for LED deposition equipment, Germany-based equipment manufacturer Aixtron has reported that its revenue for the first quarter of 2011 increased by 33% year-on-year to EUR 205.4 million.

The company’s profit increased by 34% year-on-year to EUR 104.2 million in Q1, resulting in a gross margin of 51%, one percentage point higher than at the same time last year.

Aixtron’s Q1 2011 equipment order intake was EUR 210.3 million, up 25% compared with the same quarter last year. This was the third quarter in a row with an order intake at this level and the eighth sequential quarter in which Aixtron has posted an increase in order intake.

Aixtron referred to Gartner’s 2010 MOCVD market share report, which showed the German company as having a market share of 56.3%. The company attributed its decline in market share in 2010 to an “order delay effect” that follows the introduction of new-generation products. This is due to the time that customers need to evaluate and test the product and then migrate their processes. Aixtron launched its G5 system in February 2010 and its CRIUS II slightly later in the year. In Q1 2011, 54% of revenues and 65% of orders received were for the new-generation systems.

The majority of Aixtron’s systems, approximately 89% by revenue in 2010, will be used for LED manufacturing. The bulk of these LEDs are still primarily used for backlighting purposes, but increasingly also for general lighting applications. Regionally, 89% of revenues were generated by sales to Asia, with the remaining 11% split almost equally between Europe and the United States.

Growth in China

Paul Hyland, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aixtron, spoke extensively about the company’s prospects in China: “Since mid-2009, the Chinese central government has had in place a substantial investment program, as indeed additionally have many local government authorities in China, focused on accelerating the development of a sustainable LED industry.

“Apart from their global commercial aspirations, they are also greatly motivated by the high potential internal benefits that will arise from having access to energy efficient lighting and consequently, LEDs are a very prominent target technology in China’s latest five-year plan.

“China’s government will, out of necessity, be very focused on maintaining a balance between consumptive growth and reduced domestic energy consumption, and they are very clear in their ambitions to become a global player in the provision and application of LED technology.

“We have a long and successful history in China, with well established customer relationships and infrastructure in place and an established and valuable reputation for technology innovation and quality. It is our intention to build on this foundation during 2011 and to match the growth of China as a market with our strong support and commitment to our Chinese customers. We are confident in Aixtron’s ability to retain China as one of its strongest regional markets.”

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