SUSS MicroTec: Management confirms targets until 2025 at Capital Markets Day | Further potential for growth and efficiency gains by 2030 | Focus on core semiconductor markets
Garching, Germany, February 2, 2023 – SÜSS MicroTec SE, a leading manufacturer of system and process solutions for the semiconductor industry and related markets, is informing capital markets about its strategic future today at the Capital Markets Day. The focus will be on the growth prospects until 2030 for the Advanced Backend Solutions and Photomask Equipment business units. Targeted activities that improve value creation in the fields of R&D and operations are just some of the ways in which continuous improvement in profitability is to be achieved.
More precise preliminary results for the 2022 fiscal year
After publishing initial preliminary figures on January 9, 2023, the Management Board of SUSS MicroTec now expects to have achieved sales of around EUR 300 million for the 2022 fiscal year. A key contribution to this was made by the strong final quarter with sales of approximately EUR 105 million – the first time ever that the Company generated quarterly sales in the triple-digit million euro range. At the same time, the value of equipment already shipped to customers or ready for shipment but not yet recognized in revenue fell to approximately EUR 13 million as of the end of 2022. As of September 30, 2022, this figure still came to about EUR 21 million. Order entry in the 2022 fiscal year was approximately EUR 445 million. The ratio of order entry to sales (book-to-bill) was therefore around 1.5.
The gross margin for the past fiscal year is expected to be 36.5 to 37%, a tangible improvement on the previous year’s figure of 35.8%. This increase was due in particular to the strong fourth quarter, with a gross margin of approximately 40%. “In the final quarter we really felt how the economies of scale in our organization take off when quarterly sales significantly exceed the EUR 85 million mark. In addition to a very good product mix, the price increases implemented at the beginning of the year take effect in the second half of the year – and in the fourth quarter of 2022 in particular,” says Oliver Albrecht, Chief Financial Officer of SUSS MicroTec. The price increases are the Company’s response to its higher cost of sales as a result of inflation. Due to delivery times of several months, which have become longer over the past two years due to ongoing supply bottlenecks, the price increases only have a delayed impact on the gross margin.
According to current estimates, the EBIT margin is expected to have reached a value of 10 to 11% in the past fiscal year (previous expectation: 8.5 to 10%). However, it should be noted that earnings include a non-operating effect of EUR 2.8 million from the full liquidation of the US-based subsidiary SUSS MicroTec Photonic System, Inc. This company was responsible for the UV scanner business until 2019/2020. Production in the USA was discontinued for strategic reasons, but resumed in 2021 due to an improved order situation and relocated to Taiwan. Without this extraordinary non-operating effect, the EBIT margin currently expected for the 2022 fiscal year is approximately 9 to 10%. The extraordinary effect occurred in the final quarter and resulted in an EBIT margin of some 20% in this period.
Medium-term sales and earnings targets for 2025 confirmed
On the basis of the preliminary results for the 2022 fiscal year, the Management Board of SUSS MicroTec sees the Company very well positioned to generate sales of EUR 400 million and an EBIT margin of more than 15% in 2025. “In the fourth quarter of 2022, we impressively demonstrated that our organization is capable of generating quarterly sales in excess of EUR 100 million and of significantly improving our margin,” says Dr. Bernd Schulte, Chief Executive Officer of SUSS MicroTec. “The many investment programs in the USA, Europe, China and Taiwan will lead to the construction of additional chip factories and will boost the semiconductor equipment industry. We will also profit from that. Considering our very high order backlog of around EUR 345 million as of the end of 2022, we are very confident about our sales target.”
SUSS MicroTec intends to achieve a gross margin of approximately 39 to 40% in the 2025 fiscal year. Efficiency gains in operations are intended to improve the margin. They include the modularization and outsourcing of modules used in several products and the continuous process optimization in manufacturing. “In addition to further price increases to compensate for higher inflation-related costs, we want to focus our marketing and sales activities even more on the added value generated by our systems. This means that we have to talk to our customers even more specifically about how our solution affects the total cost of ownership or the yield from a process. That has to form the basis for our equipment pricing,” explains Dr. Bernd Schulte. Operating expenditure (OPEX) is projected to rise by less than sales to a figure of some EUR 100 million by the end of 2025.
New vision: “Leader in enabling innovative advanced backend and photomask solutions”
In recent weeks and months, the management of SUSS MicroTec has dedicated significant efforts to an analysis of the Company’s strategic focus. The result is a new vision that is being presented for the first time at today’s Capital Markets Day: “Leader in enabling innovative advanced backend and photomask solutions.” CEO Dr. Bernd Schulte: “With this vision statement we describe our own ambitions, our core markets and our product competence. Our customers value our innovative and customized solutions. We can be proud of that. At the same time, we can still see great potential to make our Company even more successful. In the months ahead we want to define this potential and use it to formulate specific measures.”
From an operations perspective, the vision focuses on the Advanced Backend Solutions and Photomask Equipment business units – meaning the two units that, combined, contributed more than 85% of total sales in 2022 and which support the world’s leading semiconductor companies in their value chain.
The MicroOptics business unit, which develops and produces microlenses and highly specialized optics for different industrial applications, is not an explicit part of the new vision. This business contributed sales of around EUR 40 million, which is around 13% of SUSS MicroTec’s total sales in the 2022 fiscal year. “The similarities and synergies between MicroOptics and the other two business units are limited The automotive business in the MicroOptics unit has recently grown quickly, but it needs to grow even faster in the years ahead and cut its costs at the same time. These specific demands of the automotive supplier industry are not part of the typical DNA for SUSS MicroTec,“ explains Dr. Bernd Schulte. “Therefore, we are thinking very carefully about whether SUSS MicroTec will continue to be the right owner for SUSS MicroOptics going forward."
Advanced Backend Solutions: Significant growth potential in the Coating and Bonding units | Merging the Lithography and Bonder business units generates synergies
As of the 2023 fiscal year, SUSS MicroTec has merged the previously independent Lithography and Bonder business units to form the Advanced Backend Solutions business unit. The aim of the reorganization is to identify and realize more potential synergies in the development and marketing of customer solutions. “The new business unit strengthens our relationship with new and existing customers, because they see us as a one-stop shop – an all-round partner and a solutions provider for imaging, coating and bonding,” says Dr. Robert Wanninger, who leads the business as Vice President Advanced Backend Solutions.
The basis for the future success of the Advanced Backend Solutions business unit is its very strong market position for Mask Aligners and Coaters, along with the significant growth potential of SUSS MicroTec in the bonding market. Dr. Robert Wanninger: “We are confident that we can significantly improve our market position in bonding. The past two years have shown that we can prevail against the competition with our solutions. The main reasons for this success are a better cost of ownership for the customer – that is lower costs in the purchase and ongoing operation of a system – and a shorter time-to-market for our solutions.”
SUSS MicroTec sees the greatest growth potential in permanent bonding. Hybrid bonding is also part of this product field. “We are very confident that our hybrid bonding solutions will enable us to gain a foothold in this still very young market and build a significant market position for ourselves,” explains Stefan Lutter, Vice President R&D at SUSS MicroTec. The Company is developing a joint solution for what is known as die-to-wafer hybrid bonding in cooperation with French company SET. SUSS MicroTec has developed a proprietary solution for wafer-to-wafer bonding, which is currently being evaluated by a leading global semiconductor manufacturer in Asia. Hybrid bonding solutions could make a major contribution to bonding sales in 2030.
Overall, the Advanced Backend Solutions business unit benefits from the “More than Moore” approach, which aims to boost the performance of semiconductors by means of the 3D integration of chips to form a chip solution. This market is set to grow by 5 to 8% a year between 2022 and 2027, according to a study by Yole. SUSS MicroTec believes it can grow faster than the market.
Photomask Equipment: SUSS MicroTec aims to benefit from sustained market growth and defend strong market position | Wafer cleaning as new growth factor
The Photomask Equipment business unit focuses on the field of front-end lithography of semiconductor manufacturing. In line with the "Moore's Law" approach, the technologically leading companies are working with innovative EUV lithography to continuously improve the structure of semiconductors. SUSS MicroTec plays an important role in this trend by providing photomask production and cleaning systems. "Our MaskTrack X system is the first qualified solution in the market for EUV-processed 5-nanometer logic devices," explains Yuta Nagai, Vice President Photomask Equipment. "And our solution is further scalable for the next technology nodes."
For the period from 2020 to 2030, the industry expects semiconductor end markets to grow at an average annual rate of around 9%. With its leading technological position and by far the strongest market position, the Company believes it is well positioned to participate in the continued high market growth in the coming years.
In addition, the Company is currently working intensively on transferring its photomask cleaning expertise to the area of wafer cleaning, which has not yet been addressed by SUSS MicroTec. Yuta Nagai says: "We are first focusing on wafer cleaning for MEMS applications. The demand for and variety of MEMS devices are increasing, while at the same time the regulations on the use of hazardous chemicals are being tightened worldwide. Based on our expertise in photomask cleaning, we aim to develop new sustainable solutions by replacing hazardous chemicals and helping customers to reduce running costs.” Total addressable market in this emerging field is expected to grow by an average of 10% annually to $350 million by 2030.
Operations excellence: Modular product design, module outsourcing and the introduction of lean production methods intended to deliver significant efficiency improvements
In addition to its growth prospects, SUSS MicroTec is also presenting a strategy for improving the efficiency of its operations at the Capital Markets Day. This area is led by COO Dr. Thomas Rohe and is responsible for the development and manufacture of all systems. The purchasing, logistics and quality management functions and the order center all report to the COO. The central R&D function was created in December 2022 and integrated more closely with operations. “With this step towards a largely centralized R&D organizational structure, we will be able to drive the modularization of hardware and software much more successfully going forward, and realize the potential for synergies. A wafer handling module is needed, for instance, in an automatic coater just as it is in a bonder. In the future, we want to apply this platform approach much more consistently across different items of equipment,” says Dr. Thomas Rohe. SUSS MicroTec believes that modular product design offers significant cost benefits for complex machinery. Since this modular approach is initially only used for new product development projects, the positive effects will only have an effect on earnings over time.
A modular product design also increases the opportunities for making greater use of external production partners for individual assembly groups in the future. Outsourcing makes it possible to reduce inventories and increase flexibility. “Furthermore, we can assign our highly qualified employees to other value-creating tasks and make more efficient use of our manufacturing capacities,” explains Dr. Thomas Rohe. The development and configuration of externally prepared modules and their integration into a specific customer machine will continue to be performed exclusively on an internal basis going forward.
A third key building block for achieving continuous efficiency gains is the introduction of lean production methods. For example, in the first project to be implemented, the throughput time for a manual Mask Aligner was roughly halved by carrying out manufacturing steps in parallel. “Components are prepared independently of each other and assembled into the system in the final step. We intend to roll out this approach systematically in the months and years ahead,” confirms Dr. Thomas Rohe.
The Capital Markets Day presentations will be available for download at www.suss.com/en/investor-relations/publications shortly after the event.
Head of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +49 89 32007151
About SUSS MicroTec
SUSS MicroTec is a leading supplier of equipment and process solutions for microstructuring in the semiconductor industry and related markets. In close cooperation with research institutes and industry partners SUSS MicroTec contributes to the advancement of next-generation technologies such as 3D Integration and nanoimprint lithography as well as key processes for MEMS and LED manufacturing. With a global infrastructure for applications and service SUSS MicroTec supports more than 8.000 installed systems worldwide. SUSS MicroTec is headquartered in Garching near Munich, Germany. The shares of SUSS MicroTec SE are traded in the Prime Standard of the German Stock Exchange (ISIN DE000A10K0235). For more information, please visit http://www.suss.com.
All statements in this release other than historical facts are forward-looking statements within the meaning of U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "believe", "expect", "intend", "anticipate", "estimate", "should", "may", "will", "plan" and similar words and terms used in relation to the enterprise are meant to indicate forward-looking statements of this kind. The company accepts no obligation toward the general public to update or correct forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, as a result of which actual events may diverge numerically from expectations. The forward-looking statements reflect the view at the time they were made.
SÜSS MicroTec SE
Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Schleissheimer Strasse 90
85748 Garching, Germany
Tel.: +49 89 32007-151
Email: [email protected]
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