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24 September 2012

Riber’s first-half profit halves year-on-year

For first-half 2012, Riber S.A. of Bezons, France, which manufactures molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) systems as well as evaporation sources and effusion cells, has reported gross profit (before changes in provisions for inventories) of €3m (gross margin of 32% of revenue), down from €5.6m a year ago, reflecting an unfavorable change in revenue and product mix. The provisions recorded for inventories show a net charge of €0.2m (compared with a €0.2m reversal a year ago), bringing gross profit to €2.8m, down from €5.9m a year ago. Compared with a net profit of €1.8m a year ago, consolidated net loss was €1m, reflecting the uncertain economic environment for the semiconductor industry, says the firm.

First-half 2012 revenue (reported previously in mid-July) was €9.4m, down 28% on €13m in first-half 2011 due to a change in product mix towards MBE system sales unmatched since 2002. Sales of MBE systems rose by 89% from €3.4m to €6.4m, boosted by the consolidation of Riber’s commercial position, particularly in the research sector.

Revenue for evaporation sources and cells is down by 89% from €7m last year (which included the delivery of a major investment order for organic LED production equipment in Asia) to just €0.8m.

Revenue for services and accessories is down by 15% from €2.6m to €2.2m, set against the slowdown in demand in Europe and the USA. Riber has made major efforts to build its order book back up again on this segment, with an upturn in business in third-quarter 2012.

During first-half 2012, cash reserves halved, falling by €6.1m since the end of December 2011 to €6m at the end of June, factoring in the half-year losses, the dividend paid out in June, and the increase in inventories in anticipation of the production plan for second-half 2012.

However, the order book at the end of August was €22.3m, up 13% year-on-year. Orders for MBE systems are up 40%. Excluding an order placed in September (for a research system in India), this includes one production system and 15 research systems, to be delivered between 2012 and 2013 (representing about one year's business for this segment).

For cells and sources, orders of just €1m are down 17% on €1.2m in first-half 2011 following the completion of investments in OLED production lines, as well as the difficulties faced by the photovoltaic sector as a result of the general economic environment. Nevertheless, Riber is currently preparing a range of new-generation cells with a view to the next waves of investments.

In view of the overall growth in the order book, full-year revenue for 2012 is expected to be €26-28m. Although down on 2011’s €29m, this should yield an operating margin of 7-9% of revenue, including an OSEO refundable advance debt write-off with positive impact on second-half 2012 of €579,000.

Tags: Riber MBE


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