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SINGULUS Reports Preliminary 2009 Figures

SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES Group (SINGULUS) announced that, according to preliminary figures, it achieved sales of approx. € 116.4 million (US $159.9 million) in its business year 2009.

According to the statement, the company’s 2009 earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were characterized by general market weakness and additional burdens from € 37.4 million (US $51.4 million) restructuring charges in November. Order intake for the full-year 2009 came to € 80.9 million (US $111.1 million), which was significantly below the level of the prior year and order backlog as of December 31, 2009 was € 34.7 million (US $47.7 million).

On the optical storage front, SINGULUS expects substantial growth in its Blu-ray Disc (BD) machine sales in 2010.

Currency conversion as of February 10, 2010.

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Unedited press release follows:

SINGULUS Reports Preliminary Figures for 2009 and Enhances Strategy for Solar Equipment
February 09, 2010

* Preliminary financial figures for 2009 meeting expectations
* New Solar products are introduced to the market
* SINGULUS offers complete systems for cell production
* Forecast growth for Blu-ray at 60 % for 2010

Kahl am Main, February 09, 2010 – According to preliminary figures the SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES Group (SINGULUS) achieved sales in the amount of approx. € 116.4 million in the business year 2009. SINGULUS is therefore within the range of its own forecast. In 2009 the earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were characterized by the general market weakness in both segments Optical Disc and Solar. Additional burdens resulted from charges for restructurings in the amount of € 37.4 million announced in November. The order intake for the full-year 2009 came to € 80.9 million, which was significantly below the level of the prior year and hence reflects the global financial and economic crisis. The order backlog as of December 31, 2009 in the amount of € 34.7 million was also negatively affected by these trends.

SINGULUS will publish the full report for the business year 2009 in Frankfurt on March 26, 2010.

The overall economic situation is expected to improve in the coming months of the business year 2010. The forecast growth rates for both markets of our core activities Blu-ray and Solar give rise to optimism.

Optical Disc segment with Blu-ray on the upturn
The Blu-ray disc increasingly reaches consumers worldwide:
The new Blu-ray format continued to develop favorably and established itself as a standard for movies in high-definition quality. The first and foremost reason is apparent: Large flat-screen TVs with widths exceeding one meter show Blu-ray movies with considerably higher resolution of details and substantially clearer contrasts than the same movies on a DVD.

Since 2005 SINGULUS has been delivering its first production systems for Blu-ray to major international customers. In 2009 SINGULUS succeeded in developing new regions for the Blu-ray production machines. For example the first BLULINE II system was sold in Japan and an additional one in Brazil. Up to now, SINGULUS has delivered more than 70 Blu-ray production machines to customers around the world. Except for SONY almost all Blu-ray manufacturers are today producing discs on equipment made by SINGULUS.

As a favorable trend the demand for the new format of the third generation continues to grow worldwide. In particular during the important “Christmas business” the largest sales market, the US, recorded significantly higher sales figures for Blu-ray discs and players than in the comparable period in 2008. According to the Digital Entertainment Group USA, the growth rate in the US in the 4th quarter 2009 amounted to 35 % compared with the same quarter one year ago. Consumers purchased 7 million Blu-ray players in 2009, thereof 4.5 million in the 4th quarter 2009 alone and 55.1 million Blu-ray discs. For 2010 the market research institute Future Source projects a growth rate of 60 %.

The latest technologic developments enable additional new applications for the Blu-ray format in the future. For this, amongst others, Blu-ray discs for the new 3D movie and television technology in HD-quality with more than 100 gigabyte storage capacity are required.

Due to these trends we expect substantial growth impulses for our Blu-ray machine activities in 2010.

SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES enhances strategy in the Solar segment
In the future SINGULUS will considerably expand its activities in the Solar segments and intensify its market activities. Accordingly, new equipment for the photovoltaics industry will be introduced to the market. Roland Lacher, Chief Executive Officer, comments: “In particular during times of price pressures in the photovoltaics market, we see increased interest for new machine concepts and new production technology to enable cell producers to reduce their costs.”

SINGULUS is cooperating with leading cell manufacturers targeting both improved cell concepts with higher efficiency and production technology with lower production costs.

The company’s target is to position itself at the forefront for the introduction of new technologies with respect to silicon as well as thin-film solar technology.

Transition towards supplier of complete production systems for the solar cell production
In the future due to the available technologies, know-how and personal capabilities SINGULUS and STANGL will not only supply individual machines and equipment to the solar market but will also actively market complete systems with process know-how. This decision holds especially true for the area silicon solar, in which the company will cover the so-called Front-End market. SINGULUS and STANGL already possess the necessary expertise for wet-chemical and AR-coating processes.

Dr.-Ing. Stefan Rinck adds: “In the future we will also offer systems for the complete cell production process and in particular intensify our efforts to integrate individual production steps and to reduce the complexity of the production process. Our unique process technology know-how for wet-chemical and vacuum coating processes as well as for automation technology enables us to become a competitive supplier of highly efficient manufacturing systems very soon. This enhancement of the business model towards systems was also successful in the Optical Disc market some years ago. An analog strategy will also pave the way for success in the business field of photovoltaics.”

SINGULUS also developed several new production concepts for the thin-film solar technology segment and will launch these in 2010. In the area of thin-film solar technology we already achieved an excellent market position with STANGL equipment for CIS and CdTe applications. New developments such as the application of the ILGAR technology or ovens for selenization and diffusion will strengthen this position in the future.

SINGULUS thus offers modern plant systems for silicon and thin-film solar technology, which will provide cell manufacturers a significant potential to improve cell efficiency with simultaneous cost reductions for the production.

The enhancement of the strategy – to become OEM supplier as well as system provider – will offer the company new and additional opportunities.