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AMS Spring 2023

3D Printing Financials: SLM Delivers Mixed Results for 2021

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Metal additive manufacturing technology supplier SLM Solutions (ETR: AM3D) reported a better than expected 22% revenue rise in 2021 despite ongoing supply chain constraints. In its last financial statement, released on March 24, 2022, the company delivered significant revenue growth for the second consecutive year and mitigated headwinds by delivering all planned machines during the fourth quarter of 2021.

However, the top-line growth contrasts with SLM’s net losses of €20.4 million or 90 cents per share. Overall, this revealed a 33% improvement compared to the previous year, when losses were €20.3 million or €1.53 per share. Still, the firm’s executives reaffirmed the continued growth and suggested revenue in 2022 could be roughly €100 million.

For the full year, SLM reported revenue of €75.1 million, a 22% increase year-over-year, above its targeted forecast of 15%. Although today the company is losing money, Simply Wall Street suggests that German machinery analysts expect SLM Solutions to be on the verge of breaking even. An article published by the stock and sector analysis site anticipates that the company will “incur a final loss in 2022, before generating positive profits of €5 million in 2023.”

This is in line with SLM’s own predictions that suggest a breakeven of EBITDA in the second half of 2022, based on the strong order backlog position going into 2022, and reaffirms a continued increase in revenues, which would eventually lead to the company breaking even by 2023.

Last year saw order intake in excess of €70 million, up 53% year-over-year, as customer commitments through SLM’s core portfolio and its game-changing 12-laser NXG XII 600 machine contributed to the company’s largest-ever backlog position of €43 million.

Designed for high-volume, serial productions, the highly anticipated platform launched in November 2020 is up to 20 times faster than a standard single laser system and was released during a time when companies became highly eager to change supply chains and common inventory models forever. Since then, SLM has continued its NXG XII 600 beta program and received purchase orders from the automotive, energy, space, civil aviation, and service bureau sectors.

A few of the companies that have turned to SLM for its massive 12 laser system include Morf3D; Porsche, which used it to print a demonstration E-Drive component for a sports car front axle; Collins Aerospace; MAN Energy Solutions, and Divergent Technologies with the purchase of three NXG XII 600 production printers for auto manufacturing. Additionally, a leading California-based space company ordered two machines to make its space missions more affordable and efficient by creating lighter, faster, and more robust space components.

With its latest addition, SLM is not only one of the pioneers in the 3D printing industry but is strategically growing thanks to its installed base of over 750 machines.

Porsche's E-drive housing, printed on the NXG XII 600 in only 21 hours. I

Porsche’s E-drive housing was printed on the NXG XII 600 in only 21 hours. Image courtesy of SLM Solutions/Porsche.

Commenting on SLM’s full-year performance, CEO Sam O’Leary said “In 2021, we witnessed robust order intake across our product portfolio, with an especially strong interest for the SLM 500. During the year, we also successfully expanded the beta program of the NXG XII 600 while recording multiple orders from leading industrial companies for this unique system. Looking forward, I am confident that our technological leadership position, combined with our open architectural business philosophy will enable SLM Solutions to be at the forefront of the ongoing industrialization of additive manufacturing.”

Last year saw the largest order backlog in the company’s history, 42% higher compared to December 2020. Furthermore, O’Leary explained to investors during an earnings call that SLM is “outpacing market growth.” According to the executive, the machine element of the overall metal AM market grew 11% in 2021, a rate that SLM has significantly exceeded. As SLM begins the deliveries of its NXG production machines, they hope to generate new demand. Alongside that, the company remains firmly focused on investments in new technologies,  spending approximately 20% of its revenue on R&D activities, and is concentrated on driving adoption and penetrating the sizeable traditional manufacturing market.

Launch of SLM Solutions' NXG XII 600 machine.

Launch of SLM Solutions’ NXG XII 600 machine. Image courtesy of SLM Solutions

Aside from sharing the financial results for 2021 and guidance for 2022, O’Leary also focused on the current developments in the Ukraine and Russia crises. Like the more than 400 foreign companies that left the eastern European country, SLM also decided to stop all its activities in that market until further notice.

“While the Russian market has no significance for SLM Solutions, the impact of the crisis on the global economy and the already strained supply chains remains unclear. The company will continue to closely monitor the situation and initiate actions if required,” highlighted the CEO.

Envisioning the entire year of 2022 with revenue of €100 million and achieving an EBITDA breakeven position during the second half of the year, SLM said it is confident in maintaining its technological leadership position and remaining at the forefront of the “ongoing industrialization of additive manufacturing.”

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