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03-31-2011

LPKF: Continued Success

With a boost in earnings of 149%, LPKF, Garbsen, Germany, produces its best performance to date in the 2010 financial year. The shareholders of the Garbsen-based laser specialist also have a lot to look forward to with a planned year-on-year doubling of the dividend to 40 Euro cents this year.

The laser specialist boosted revenue in 2010 by 60% to EUR 81 million – to slightly exceed its own forecast of EUR 79 million. The level of incoming orders rose from EUR 56 million (2009) to EUR 79 million. Earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) climbed from EUR 7 million to EUR 17 million – with a corresponding rise in the return on sales from 14% to 21%. The Group generated revenues of EUR 20 million in the fourth quarter, producing an Ebit of more than EUR 2 million.

The 2010 financial year was characterized by a number of major orders with a total volume of EUR 14 million in the Cutting & Structuring Lasers segment. “Although business with systems for laser direct structuring again played a major role, almost all the segments played a part in the enormous growth this time,” said CEO Dr. Ingo Bretthauer explaining the background to the business performance at the mechanical engineering company’s balance sheet press conference.

The only exception was the Thin-film Technologies segment that suffered from the general weakness in the solar market in 2010. However, LPKF is expecting a sig-nificant improvement in business in this segment as well in 2011. The company has just won a major order worth almost EUR 7 million for systems for the production of solar panels. This order heralds LPKF’s turnaround in the solar business which had slackened in the recent past.

The very robust balance sheet structure the company has enjoyed in the past remained almost unchanged with an equity ratio of 71%. “The investment in prop-erty, plant and equipment, and intangible assets doubled from EUR 4 million to EUR 8 million. We were able to finance these projects from our own cash flow,” ex-plained CFO Kai Bentz. The cash flow from operating activities rose from EUR 11 million to EUR 13 million; the free cash flow was EUR 6 million (previous year EUR 8 million) despite the strong rise in investments.

The current situation in Japan naturally also has an impact on a technology com-pany like LPKF. The effects of the disaster are not foreseeable at the present time. However, the emergency in Japan has no acute effect on the LPKF Group in terms of either the earnings situation or material procurement. In the 2010 financial year, the share of revenue attributable to business with Japan was only approx. 2%. The expansion plans will be continued as soon as the situation in Japan has stabilized.

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