EQS Group-Ad-hoc: VAT Group AG / Key word(s): Quarter Results
Record Q3 order intake and net sales driven by market growth and Excellence in operational execution; Q4 sales guidance indicates full-year 2021 record net sales of between CHF 885 - 895 million
Q3 2021 results
Nine months 2021 results
Guidance for Q4 and outlook for full-year 2021
1 At constant foreign exchange rates
Third-quarter and nine-month 2021 summary
Q3 sales growth driven by Semiconductor, Global Service and Advanced Industrials
In Q3 2021, VAT experienced continued strong markets driven by the long-term global growth in semiconductor demand, which has been accentuated by the recent chip shortage. Ongoing semiconductor technology innovations also fueled demand for advanced vacuum valves. Investments in the semiconductor industry are focused on both new chip generations and legacy platforms, yielding record sales in VAT's Semiconductor and Global Service business units. VAT continued to gain market share based on its leading technology position and strong business execution across all its markets. In addition, the Advanced Industrials business unit captured the growth opportunities resulting from the recovery in its markets, supported by recent strategic growth initiatives in a number of key areas. Demand in the Display & Solar business remained muted, but recent order activity indicates that the bottom of this phase may have been reached.
A key lever of VAT's third quarter sales performance was the strong mitigation of supply chain challenges in the semiconductor and many other industries. To focus on these issues remains at the center of management's attention also in the coming quarters as the company continues to ramp up operations to satisfy customer demand. VAT's operations team also continued to increase the global production footprint and VAT expects to reach production output of around CHF 180 million in Malaysia for the full year 2021 (representing a year-end run rate of CHF 220 million) while at the same time further optimizing our production capabilities in Switzerland.
Group orders in the third quarter were 91% higher than in the same quarter a year ago, at CHF 299 million, and up 18% sequentially, yielding a third-quarter book-to-bill ratio of 1.3x. This high order intake was driven by the generally high level of investment in the semiconductor businesses for both valves and service offerings and was further accelerated by global supply chain constraints which may have triggered some additional orders. VAT believes that the order patterns seen during the third quarter and the first nine months of the year show that it is successfully capturing existing business opportunities and further building out its market share across the industry. Both the Advanced Industrials and the Display & Solar business units also posted higher orders in Q3. The company's order backlog at the end of the third quarter was CHF 284 million, up 129% compared with the end of September 2020.
VAT's Q3 net sales grew to CHF 229 million, an increase of 23% compared with the same period in 2020 and at the top end of the company's guidance issued with the second-quarter results in August. Foreign exchange movements did not have any material impact on VAT's Q3 net sales.
For the first nine months of 2021, Group orders and sales are up 54% and 28% respectively compared with the same period a year earlier. Foreign exchange movements had a negative impact on net sales of about 3 percentage points.
Valves reported Q3 orders of CHF 250 million, up 101% year-on-year, and net sales of CHF 185 million, an increase of 22% compared with the same period in 2020.
The Q3 order growth was mainly driven by the Semiconductor business unit, where orders increased 117% to CHF 187 million year-on-year, a new all-time record. Net sales posted a new record level as well and amounted to CHF 137 million, up 31% compared with the third quarter of 2020. End-users continued to invest in new technologies to manufacture the next generation of chips, while at the same time increasing capacity for existing chip designs in order to satisfy the fast-growing demand for both logic/foundry and memory chips.
Semiconductors recorded eight specification wins in the third quarter, bringing the total to 18 for the first nine months, with three of them resulting from the company's growth initiative to develop new adjacent products that complement its core valves business.
Orders in the Display & Solar business unit increased to CHF 21 million, up 59% year-on-year, representing the best quarter in 2021 so far. The main contributor to this order growth came from the display business, where the company received orders for both LCD and OLED fab expansions. In the solar business, the main business driver continued to be in the PERC technology sector.
The Advanced Industrials business unit continued its strong recovery with Q3 orders up 69% year-on-year, reaching a new record of CHF 42 million. Sales were 17% higher at CHF 33 million. The recovery was broad-based and resulted from generally improving market conditions coupled with positive results from growth initiatives implemented during 2020 to focus on Asian markets. VAT saw continued strong demand in coatings, especially related to high-end applications such as mobile phones and optical coatings, especially in Japan and China. Scientific instruments, material and life science also showed continued strong demand, partly the result of research institutes in the US and Asia returning to normal activity levels after a prolonged standstill due to the COVID pandemic. VAT shipped several prototypes to large scientific instrument OEMs, which is a key initiative to increase VAT's engineered content within these important customers.
Starting January 1, 2021, VAT integrated the former segment Industry into the Valves segment and in particular into the business unit Advanced Industrials (formerly General Vacuum) as the type of this business organizationally fits better into this business unit. The Group now reports in two segments: Valves, which encompasses the development, production, sales of vacuum valves and components and the Service segment, which comprises spare parts, upgrades and retrofits and the maintenance business of the Group. The Valves segment consists of the three business units Semiconductors, Display & Solar, and Advanced Industrials. Starting 2021, VAT will separately disclose orders and net sales of these three business units in an effort to further increase the transparency of its reporting. As a consequence, the reported segment figures have been restated accordingly.
The Global Service segment reported near-record Q3 orders of CHF 49 million, an increase of 53% compared with the same quarter in 2020 and driven by strength in all four sectors of the business (spare parts & repair, gates, upgrades & retrofits, and subfab valves). Net sales were up 28% to CHF 44 million. High utilization levels in the semiconductor fabs drove increased demand for spares & repairs as well as consumables such as gates. In addition, new retrofits in the control valve space were launched during Q3 focusing on critical etching processes used in 10nm and below node technology. Increased business activity was also seen in the subfab segment as the largest independent device manufacturers brought new fabs online.
Segment Global Service
Guidance for Q4 and outlook for the remainder of 2021
The medium-term growth drivers for VAT - mainly in the semiconductor industry, VAT's largest end market - remain firmly in place. Megatrends such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing and artificial intelligence have been boosted by pandemic-related developments, such as the shift to home office and the sharp increase in E-commerce.
The current capacity shortage in all semiconductor chip categories has driven record capital expenditures by chip producers and VAT expects this to increase well into 2022. Market analysts now estimate that investments in wafer fab equipment in 2021 could increase by more than 30% to around USD 85 billion, compared with the previous record level of USD 64 billion in 2020. Initial estimates for 2022 indicate low double-digit growth. As the clear market and technology leader, VAT is well positioned to harness this trend and continue its strong profitable growth.
In the display markets, investments in large OLED screens and additional capacity for smartphones are expected to remain muted. However, the company believes that the bottom of the cycle may have been reached and expects business activity to gradually improve over the next twelve months. In solar PV, the current investment cycle in PERC technology is expected to continue, while the shift to higher-efficiency hetero-junction (HJT) solar cells is forecast to gather pace during 2022.
The market rebound for Advanced Industrials valves remains positive, driven by both a general global economic recovery plus expected strong growth in China. In addition, upgrades of large synchrotrons continue, especially in the US and Asia. The company also expects to make further progress in the area of scientific instruments with several prototype deliveries.
VAT's Global Service segment is also expected to grow, driven not only by demand in its main semiconductors market but also by new product launches as well as the increase of its large installed base, which is opening additional opportunities for upgrades and retrofits.
On this basis, VAT expects Q4 sales of CHF 240 - 250 million and full-year 2021 net sales of CHF 885 - 895 million. The full-year EBITDA margin is expected to be above the half-year level of 33.9% and net income for the year is expected to be substantially higher than in 2020.
Capital expenditures for 2021 are expected to be around CHF 40 million. Free cash flow is expected to exceed the previous year's record level substantially as higher EBITDA more than offsets working capital requirements.
There is a short media and investor conference call today, October 15, 2021, at 10am CEST.
To participate in the call please dial:
+41 58 310 50 00 (CH/Europe)
+44 207 107 06 13 (UK)
+1 631 570 56 13 (USA)
A playback of the call can be accessed through our website, www.vatvalve.com, approximately one hour after the call has finished.
For further information please contact:
Financial calendar 2022
Except as otherwise required by law, VAT disclaims any intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this report.
End of ad hoc announcement
|Company:||VAT Group AG|
|Phone:||+41 81 771 61 61|
|Fax:||+41 81 771 48 30|
|Listed:||SIX Swiss Exchange|
|EQS News ID:||1241001|
|End of Announcement||EQS Group News Service|
1241001 15-Oct-2021 CET/CEST