The international measuring technology firm INFICON, which maintains a presence in Balzers, recorded sales growth of 32.5 percent in the first quarter of 2021. According to a press release, this equates to a new record of 122.7 million US dollars. Organic growth totaled 27.3 percent versus the prior year. In comparison with a strong fourth quarter of 2020, sales have been increased by a further 5 percent. Overall, 46.4 percent of total sales – equivalent to 46.9 million US dollars – were generated in the sales region of Asia. In comparison with the previous year, this represents a plus of 64.5 percent. Both Europe (+17.3 percent) and America (+7.8 percent) in particular showed a clear recovery compared with the final quarter.
The main growth driver was once again the semiconductor business. With growth of 44.2 percent to 61.3 million US dollars in comparison with the same quarter in the previous year in the area of Semi & Vacuum Coating, INFICON posted the highest increases in its largest target market. Sales were also up 16.8 percent on the fourth quarter of 2020. The background to this development is that the automotive industry is recovering rapidly from the depths of the coronavirus crisis. At the same time, production capacity investments were increased above all in Asia.
This recovery is also impacting the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Automotive division. In a year-on-year comparison, this segment posted growth of 23.5 percent, with growth of 3.3 percent to 24.7 million US dollars recorded in comparison with the previous quarter. At 32.9 million US dollars, sales in the General Vacuum division were up 3.5 percent year on year. The only volatility was observed in the “strategically unchanged exciting market” of Security & Energy: Although sales in the security market rose by 8.6 percent compared with the same period of the previous year, a sales decline of 56.3 percent was recorded in comparison with the fourth quarter of 2020 to 3.8 million US dollars.
Operating profit rose to 24.6 million US dollars in the reporting period. This produced a “significantly improved margin” of 20.0 percent. Net profit totaled 19.6 million US dollars, a rise of 16.0 percent. Earnings per share (EPS) almost doubled, rising from 4.67 US dollars twelve months ago to stand at 8.01 US dollars.
Due to the high capacity utilization rate and positive order situation seen presently, INFICON has revised its sales forecast for 2021 upwards from 420-450 million to 450-480 million US dollars in addition to updating its anticipated operating income margin to between 18 percent and 20 percent.