German 3D printer manufacturer SLM Solutions has projected an annual revenue increase of 24% within its preliminary FY 2020 financial results.
During the course of 2020, the company anticipates that it generated total revenue of around €61 million, an improvement of 24% over FY 2019. If accurate, this figure means that SLM outperformed its annual growth guidance of 20%, but that it also experienced a slowdown during H2 2020, after it reported an initial 90% revenue increase in H1 2020.
Following the publication of the results, the firm’s shares dipped from €23.30 to €22.65, a decline of 2.3%. However, SLM’s newly-appointed CEO Sam O’Leary opted to focus on the company’s strong overall performance, claiming that it showed the potential of 3D printing for overcoming the challenges of the post-pandemic world.
“Helping to meet our customer’s needs while continuing to lead in industrializing AM technology, has proven to our customers that SLM is a strong and dependable long-term partner, that will help them to overcome their manufacturing challenges and pursue new opportunities afforded,” commented O’Leary.
SLM’s projected FY 2020 results
Although SLM hasn’t finished auditing its FY 2020 results, it has indicated that it expects to meet the guidance it set out at the end of Q3. In addition to revenue growth of 24%, the company anticipates an improvement in its earnings before tax for FY 2020, with its EBITDA set to land between -€14.5 million and -€15.5 million.
This figure falls well within SLM’s initial guidance of -€13 million to -€18 million, something it has credited to the “operational rigour” it demonstrated throughout last year. Looking ahead to FY 2021, the company expects to see a further improvement in its EBITDA, and it’s targeting annual revenue growth of at least 15%.
According to O’Leary, the firm’s optimistic outlook for the year is based on the successful launch of its new NXG XII 600 3D printer, which “exceeded expectations.” Additionally, the company’s CFO Dirk Ackermann has claimed that its order intake doubled over H2 2020, resulting in a backlog of €30 million that should ensure its continued growth as the pandemic begins to recede.
“While we still see some customer hesitation due to the uncertainties presented by COVID-19, the benefits of AM are also allowing many of our customers to better react to supply chain and manufacturing challenges,” said Ackerman. “Our current forecast cautiously assumes that the economic environment will slowly normalize, and that COVID-19 burdens will slowly ease during the second half of 2021.”
Tracing SLM’s 2020 success
SLM may not have confirmed its full-year financials yet, but it’s clear that 2020 was a year of near-continuous growth for the firm, despite difficult macroeconomic circumstances. Last year, the company made particular progress in addressing its core aerospace market, working with Honeywell to find a parameter set for 3D printing aluminum F357 in July 2020.
Automotive represents another of SLM’s key verticals, and the firm established close ties with Porsche last year, 3D printing concept E-drive housings for one of its sports cars. Such partnerships could go some way to explaining how the firm drove client demand so successfully during 2020, increasing its order intake by 11% in Q3 alone.
Elsewhere, SLM has also received an order for five of its new NXG XII 600 systems from an ‘unnamed European OEM.’ Although it’s not yet clear whether the order will be included within the company’s full financials when they’re published on March 25th 2021, it does at least indicate a market appetite for the firm’s latest machine.
3D printing’s growth trajectory
It may only be February, but several 3D printing firms have already reported growth, providing optimism that the industry may have turned a corner after a tricky 2020.
3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems, for instance, was forced to cut its workforce by 20% earlier last year, but after publishing optimistic provisional Q4 2020 financial results, its share price rose by over 90%. Overall, the company is set to generate $170 million in revenue for the quarter, around 25% more than was initially expected.
Similarly, British engineering firm and metal 3D printer manufacturer Renishaw reported a pre-tax profit of £43.4 million over H1 2021. The company managed to remain profitable despite reporting a 2% drop in revenue thanks to the efficiency savings it made across its business.
Elsewhere, binder jetting 3D printer manufacturer ExOne has also projected an annual revenue increase within its Q4 2020 financials. During 2021, the company intends to expand on its portfolio to enable further growth, and it has already signed an exclusive partnership with Rapidia that’s yielded two new machines.
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Featured image shows a team of SLM engineers being trained in Lubeck to use the NXG XII 600 3D printer. Photo via SLM Solutions.