Voxeljet to Sell and Leaseback its German 3D Printing HQ

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It was a rough start to the year for voxeljet (NASDAQ: VJET). During the first quarter of 2022, the German manufacturer of high-speed, large-format 3D printers and on-demand parts services reported another season of net losses and negative cash flows, which were considered a “going concern” for company management. However, the latest news from the 3D printing firm is that it entered into a sale and leaseback transaction for its 135,380 square foot facility in Friedberg, Germany, with an unaffiliated real estate investor.

Repaying voxeljet’s Debts

According to the deal, the sale of the facility will generate roughly €26.5 million ($27.2 million) in gross proceeds, which will help repay voxeljet’s outstanding financial liabilities. Once the sale is finalized, voxeljet will then lease the facility for 15 years, with two consecutive five-year extension option periods.  The transaction, which could close towards the end of the third quarter of 2022, is still subject to regulatory approvals in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Commenting on the deal, voxeljet chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO) Rudolf Franz said, “As we continue on our path towards profitability, this sale-leaseback transaction aligns with our objective to source non-dilutive financing. We plan to use the proceeds to repay our outstanding financial liabilities and focus on our main business, which is developing, manufacturing, and selling high-tech, industrial 3D printers.”

On social media, Franz also thanked the European Investment Bank (EIB) for its support over the last five years and Hogan Lovells lawyers Günther Martin and Johannes Pesch for handling the transaction.

voxeljet CFO Rudolf Franz

voxeljet CFO Rudolf Franz. Image courtesy of voxeljet.

Serving as voxeljet headquarters since the spring of 2010, the Friedberg site is the company’s center of excellence for research, development, and production of its 3D printing systems. In the Bavarian town, the 3D printing pioneer made a name for itself both as a manufacturer of industrial 3D printing systems and as a service provider for the on-demand production of sand molds and plastic models. In 2016, voxeljet even underwent an expansion, as the foundation stone was laid for a new production complex in Friedberg. As part of the company’s growth, additional space was created to manufacture more 3D printing systems, adding to the more than 100 printers built on site.

During the first three months of the year, voxeljet reported liabilities of €23.6 million ($24.2 million), including money owed to vendors for inventory-related goods and contract obligations. In addition, the business also registered long-term liabilities of around €12.4 million ($12.7 million). Thereby, it appears the new deal itself could prove to be highly beneficial to the company, helping it gain liquidity that was previously tied up to the real estate property while maintaining its ongoing operations at the same headquarters site as it has for the past 12 years.

Engineers showing a 3D printed part to customers at the voxeljet 3D printing center.

voxeljet has 3D printing centers in Germany, the U.S. and China. Image courtesy of voxeljet.

Aside from the sale-leaseback transaction, voxeljet entered into a security release agreement, also on August 11, 2022, with the EIB.  According to this accord, once voxeljet repays its debt with EIB with proceeds from the sale-leaseback, the EIB will release the company from all obligations and liabilities. According to the Form 6-K filed by voxeljet at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company had borrowed €25 million ($25.7 million) in November 2017 from the EIB.

Focusing on 3D Printing

With this new deal to repay outstanding financial liabilities, Franz expects the company can focus on its primary business, which is developing, manufacturing, and selling high-tech, industrial 3D printers.

In fact, as of late, the company has been actively posting news on social media, including installing its first VX200 HSS system at its Suzhou, China facility. This is part of an Asia expansion that will soon also offer flexible material development for polymer 3D printing. In addition, just three weeks ago, the company participated in an inaugural event in Bangalore, India, where steel casting manufacturer PeeKay Steel Castings (P) Limited set up a technical innovation center that houses an additive manufacturing center with voxeljet’s largest sand printer, the VX4000.

As one of the pioneering businesses in the 3D printing industry, voxeljet is trying to maintain its business afloat despite the economic slowdown of the last few years and the financial difficulties many companies faced. As a result, the previous six months saw voxeljet stock reach some of its lowest historical values, roughly between $3 and $4. However, August seems to bring in a bit of fresh air, as the stock prices for voxeljet are following the capital market trends.

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