3D Printing Financials: Unpacking Farsoon and BLT’s 2023 Performance

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In the Chinese 3D printing industry, two companies, Farsoon (SHA: 688433) and Bright Laser Technologies, or BLT (SHA: 688333), have recently unveiled their full-year earnings for 2023. Farsoon reported increases in both revenue and net income. The company maintained a stable profit margin, and its earnings per share grew compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, BLT registered a significant revenue uptick, with net income and earnings per share showing considerable growth compared to the previous year. However, both companies’ earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations, and their stock prices have been struggling since the beginning of the year to return to their 2023 levels.

Both companies have revealed growth in their markets, reflecting the solid demand and progress in China’s 3D printing sector. Farsoon, recognized for its industrial 3D printing solutions that help create parts for critical applications in industries like space and automotive, kept growing despite market hurdles like economic uncertainty and competitive pressures, while BLT, a top name in laser technology and 3D printing services, capitalized on its innovation to boost sales and profits.

Farsoon Forges Ahead

In 2023, Farsoon reported a revenue increase of 33% to CN¥605.7 million ($85.2 million), with net income rising by 35% to CN¥133.5 million ($18.8 million). Despite the market’s fluctuations and the competitive landscape, Farsoon managed to maintain a steady profit margin of 22%. The earnings per share (EPS) grew to 33 Chinese yuan cents (around 4.6 US cents) from 27 Chinese yuan cents (around 3.8 US cents) in 2022.

In the first half of 2023, Farsoon’s operating income mainly came from its 3D printing equipment and auxiliary accessories, which accounted for 87.45% of its revenue. The sale of 3D printing powder materials contributed 7.81%, while after-sales services and other activities accounted for 4.57%. By the end of the reporting period, Farsoon’s total assets had more than doubled, showing an impressive increase of 104% to CN¥2.32 billion ($327 million).

These financial wins were driven by Farsoon’s focus on its core business, continuous technological innovation, and increased investment in research and development. The company developed new equipment to meet several application needs, optimized its software, controls, and processes to enhance printing efficiency, and actively pursued market expansion and industrial layout optimization.

Farsoon achieved important milestones in 2023, including its listing on the Science and Technology Innovation Board, which marked the beginning of accelerated development. The company made significant strides in its metal and nylon product lines, leading the way in technology, exploring global markets with high potential, and building an international ecosystem. What’s more, its global client sales exceeded 1,000 units, including 500 3D printers sold to international customers. Farsoon had already pointed out in 2023 that “overseas markets account for 30% to 45% of the company’s sales volume.”

Farsoon Founder Dr. Xu Xiaoshu said in an interview with Chinese media outlet Antarctic Bear last year, “The development trend of 3D printing comes and goes, and now it has reached a stage of rapid upward growth. Its rapid growth can be attributed to two points: the first point is the gradual maturity of metal 3D printing, and Its price is gradually declining relatively. The continuous decline in relative price has turned its application scenario into a tool that can actually be used as a mass production manufacturing tool. This is not only for the more important aerospace field, but also in other applications. The second point is that the industry’s understanding of 3D printing has gradually deepened in recent years. In the past, the public’s impression of 3D printing was only limited to doing some research.”

BLT’s Balance Sheet

As for BLT, the brand saw its revenue jump to CN¥1.2 billion ($169 million), a significant rise from the previous year, with net income increasing to CN¥141.6 million ($20 million). Its EPS rose to 89 Chinese yuan cents (or 13 US cents) from 70 Chinese yuan cents (or 10 US cents) in 2022.

BLT’s growth is mainly due to its strong foothold in laser technology and 3D printing services, where it has always leveraged its innovative capabilities. The company’s focus on research and development and its ability to meet the evolving needs of diverse industries, including medical, automotive, and aerospace, has been key to its revenue and profit growth.

Although BLT had notable achievements in its 2023 earnings, especially considering the context of recent 3D printing industry performances, the financial results did not meet the overly optimistic expectations set by analysts and investors locally. Even with a growth in revenue and net income, the difference between the forecasts and the actual results led to a sense of disappointment, suggesting forecasters were anticipating even stronger results. This could point to a challenging environment where even positive earnings are seen critically due to extremely high expectations.

BLT’s 3D printers. Image courtesy of BLT.

Market Moves

The financial outcomes of these companies are key indicators of the 3D printing industry’s health and future in China, which is different from Western markets mainly due to other business practices, regulatory environments, and stages of technological adoption. In China, there’s a strong focus on local innovation, with significant government support for technology R&D, which has led to rapid growth and adoption of 3D printing technologies. Additionally, the market dynamics in China are influenced by a faster pace of industrialization and a more centralized approach to deploying new technologies, especially in sectors like manufacturing and construction.

With strong growth reports in 2023, Farsoon and BLT highlight the potential of China’s 3D printing industry. Their financial statements also reflect the trends and opportunities in the Chinese 3D printing market. As they move forward, their approaches to innovation and global expansion will continue to attract attention from investors and industry observers, demanding even more results from them. This will put enough pressure on Farsoon and BLT to continue adapting to the evolving market demands and ensuring they remain at the forefront of the 3D printing industry.

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