15 January 2010


II-VI supplier 5N Plus reports dip in sales, but solar demand strong

For its fiscal second-quarter 2010 (to end-November 2009), 5N Plus Inc of Montreal, Quebec, Canada has reported (in Canadian dollars) revenue of $15.8m, down 13.1% on $18.1m a year ago and 2% on $16.1m last quarter.

5N Plus produces high-purity metals such as tellurium, cadmium and selenium, as well as II-VI semiconducting compounds such as cadmium telluride (CdTe) and cadmium sulphide (CdS) as precursors for the growth of crystals for electronic applications, including infra-red detectors for night-vision systems, gamma-ray detectors for nuclear imaging in medicine, thermoelectric modules for cooling, and thin-film photovoltaic cells for solar panels.

Net earnings of $3.2m were up slightly from $3m last quarter , but down from $5.9m a year ago. Nevetherless, cash and cash equivalents have increased by $4.4m on a year ago.

“Results of our second quarter continue to reflect a healthy demand for our solar-grade products,” says president & CEO Jacques L’Ecuyer. “We expect this trend to continue, with new manufacturers entering the market and recent announcements of additional CdTe solar module manufacturing capacity,” he adds. 5N Plus supplies to booming CdTe solar cell maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA.

“Our second quarter results were, however, also negatively impacted by the relatively strong showing of the Canadian dollar with respect to its US counterpart, which also reduced our backlog,” notes L’Ecuyer. At the end of November, the backlog of orders expected to translate into sales over the following 12 months was $53.3m, down 2.7% on $54.7m a year ago.

Also, 5N Plus began incurring significant R&D expenses related to ZT Plus, the joint venture with BSST (a subsidiary of Amerigon Inc) announced at the end of the fiscal first quarter. “Markets for our other products continued to be challenging in the quarter, but we expect this situation to correct itself and remain therefore optimistic for the future.”

“We continue to seek opportunities for expansion of our corporation through acquisitions and partnerships,” L’Ecuyer continues. In December, 5N acquired Firebird Technologies Inc of Trail, British Columbia — which produces indium antimonide (InSb) wafers as well as antimony, indium and tin pure metals — and signed a memorandum of understanding with Teck Metals Ltd for the long-term supply of strategic minor metals (including indium, cadmium and germanium feedstock). “This will form the basis of a new platform aimed at addressing the semiconductor wafer business as well as additional opportunities in the solar market including copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and germanium,” L’Ecuyer says. “Combined with ZT Plus, we believe that this will provide us with significant additional growth opportunities.”

5N Plus aims to continue executing its growth plan through diversification of its product range and accretive acquisitions, L’Ecuyer concludes.

See related items:

II-VI supplier 5N buys Firebird to expand into III-Vs and substrate making

5N Plus doubles record levels sales and earnings annually

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