Aug 12, 2016 | By Alec

Companies all over the 3D printing market have been revealing their sales figures for the first half of 2016, and the results have been conflicting. Clearly, the desktop 3D printer market has not been growing as strongly as many hoped – just as in late 2015. It has even driven Stratasys and 3D Systems to a strategy change. Industrial-level 3D printing, however, seems to be booming. This is further underlined by German metal 3D printing specialists SLM Solutions, who revealed fantastic sales figures for 2016.

SLM Solutions Group AG is a Lübeck-based provider of metal 3D printing systems who have been particularly successful over the last few years. Their 3D printers are increasingly finding their way into the hands of partners from aerospace, energy, healthcare and automotive industries. In May, even Audi purchased one of their ten-feet tall SLM 280HL 3D printers.

But Audi was not the only interested partner, as the German specialists actually received 56 orders for metal 3D printers over the first six months of 2016, of which about two thirds came from new clients. This translates to some excellent figures, as the second quarter sales were up by 105 percent (up by 85 percent over the entirety of 2016). These sales bring the total for 2016 up to €33.5 million (or approximately $37.5 USD), with the bulk of that some coming from machinery sales.

Unsurprisingly, the management is delighted. “In just six months we have achieved the same volume of business as in the full year 2014 and after nine months in 2015. In fact we upped the pace once again in the second quarter and doubled our consolidated revenue to €19.7 million compared with €9.6 million last year. Once again we managed to grow at a faster rate than the overall world market, which according to Wohlers Associates put on an average of 32 % between 2013 and 2015,” said Management Board chairman Dr. Markus Rechlin. “Following on from our strong growth in the first half, we continue to expect full-year sales in 2016 to lay within a band of 85 to 90 million euro, and we anticipate a slight increase in adjusted EBITDA relative to the year before. The machines business in the fourth quarter in particular will be decisive in achieving our full-year targets.”

While the company received 40 machine orders in the first half of 2015, this rose by 40 percent to 56 in 2016 – including several show models that were sold at a lower rate. Other figures are equally optimistic. Total operating revenue climbed to a massive €41,7 million – 66 percent more than the year before. “Viewed on an intra-year basis, our laser melting systems business regularly shows a distinct seasonal pattern. Also when assessing our current half-year figures, it should be borne in mind that in selling some older demonstration machines to an established customer, we allowed some discounts that had a one-off impact on profitability. With our new, even more user-friendly version of the SLM 500HL, we are very well positioned in the market,” said CFO Uwe Bögershausen.

But the company also spent more on personnel costs to cope with growing demand, with the adjusted personnel cost ratio increasing to 28 percent of aggregate performance (up from 24 percent). Material costs climbed to €24.6 million (up from €14.1 million). What’s more, the consolidated net loss came in at -2.3 million euro for the first half of 2016 (comparable to the figures of 2015’s first half).

Overall, however, SLM Solutions is growing very strongly and the future looks bright. “The continuing improvement in profitability will depend on the continuation of growth. As a metals specialist we find ourselves in the most dynamic segment of the additive manufacturing market, and we are playing our part in breaking down the barriers that currently obstruct wide-ranging application,” Rechlin argued. In fact, the company is also taking steps towards becoming an integrated systems supplier through joint ventures on the software and consumables fronts. It’s clear that SLM Solutions is becoming a metal 3D printing force to be reckoned with.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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