Growth in fibre lasers for materials processing boosts quarterly revenues

The increasing traction of fibre lasers replacing conventional lasers in materials processing has led to IPG and Coherent’s latest quarterly revenues being higher than expected, both firms have reported.

IPG’s materials processing sales increased 33 per cent year-over-year throughout its first quarter, accounting for approximately 92 per cent of the firm’s total sales. The growth was driven by a rapid increase in cutting and welding, which led to sales of the company’s high power lasers growing by 42 per cent year-over-year. A rise in welding and percussion hole drilling applications also led to a 148 per cent increase in IPG’s quasi-cw laser sales.

Throughout the quarter, IPG generated $50.8 million in cash from operations, and used $21.9 million to finance capital expenditures. The company ended the period with $862.8 million, a $32.2 million increase from 31 December 2016. The growing materials processing sales were aided by increased demand in china, which has seen an 89 per cent increase year-over-year.

Commenting on the period, Dr Valentin Gapontsev, CEO of IPG Photonics commented. ‘First quarter revenue and EPS were above the high end of our guidance as the pace at which our fibre lasers are replacing conventional lasers and non-laser technology appears to be accelerating. During the first quarter we achieved record sales of $285.8 million, which increased 38 per cent year over year, while EPS of $1.38 increased 50 per cent year over year.’ 

IPG expects revenue in the range of $320 million to $340 million for the second quarter of 2017.

Coherent has also exceeded its quarterly expectations, encouraged by its materials processing business and the traction of its high-power fibre lasers.

Throughout its second fiscal quarter, ending 1 April, the company saw net sales of $422.8 million and a net income of $41.8 million, compared to net sales of $199.9 million and a net income of $17.8 million for the same period last year The dramatically larger figures are a result of Coherent’s successful acquisition of Rofin-Sinar Technolgies on 7 November last year, which saw Rofin's quarterly operating results consolidated into Coherent’s. 

‘Coherent delivered operating results that exceeded the high end of guidance with almost all markets and geographies making contributions,’ commented John Ambroseo CEO and president of Coherent. ‘The largest opportunity is in FPD where customers are projecting capacity at the high-end of our model. We will likely make additional capital investments during fiscal 2018 in system test, optics fabrication and depot repair to address the demand. We are also encouraged by the performance of our materials processing business, especially the early traction with high power fibre lasers.

‘Our balance sheet is also in very good shape. The record results led to meaningful cash generation and we have voluntarily begun to pay down the debt we assumed in conjunction with the acquisition of Rofin-Sinar’.

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Analysis and opinion

By Dave MacLellan, Executive Director, AILU


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