Trading Statement & Notice of Results
20 July 2017
Strong growth in H1 revenues marks the start of increased VCSEL wafer demand for mass-market consumer applications, and triggers a capacity expansion to meet higher levels of expected demand in H2 2018.
Cardiff, UK. 20th July 2017: IQE plc (AIM: IQE; "IQE", the "Group"), the leading global supplier of advanced wafer products and wafer services to the semiconductor industry, provides a trading statement for the six months ended 30 June 2017.
The Group announces that it expects to deliver revenues of c. £70m for the first half, reflecting increased sales in each of its three primary markets. Notably, photonics continued to deliver strong double-digit growth, enjoying the early phase of a significant ramp in VCSEL wafer supply for mass market consumer applications. As a result, overall wafer sales are expected to grow by c.16% against H1 2016. This has also been supplemented by c. £1m of license income (H1 2016: £3.5m).
The Group enjoys a broad range of end market drivers, which are increasing the diversity of its wafer sales. The Group is engaged in a range of programmes which provide significant upside potential to its near and mid-term growth expectations. These include VCSEL, GaN for RF and power, full service DFB wafers, InfraRed and cREO™. The start of the mass-market ramp for VCSEL wafers marks an inflection point in the commercialisation of this technology. The Group has secured multiple, multi-year contracts for this VCSEL ramp which reflects its strong competitive advantages including its technology leadership and its proven track record in delivering wafers into high volume consumer markets. As a result, the Board has now approved a capacity expansion plan to meet higher levels of expected demand for H2 2018 than previously anticipated. This follows increased investment during H1 2017 in operating costs, product development and working capital to help position the Group for the expected ramp and meet higher levels of growth in H2 of 2017.
As part of its expansion plan the Group announces that it has agreed a heads of terms for the lease of a new premises in South Wales. The lease is with the Cardiff City Region, which has a goal of supporting the development of the Compound Semiconductor Cluster in South Wales. This lease provides the infrastructure needed for IQE's expansion in a highly cost effective manner. The lease is for 11 years, and provides IQE with an option to extend the lease or purchase the freehold. In parallel, the Group has placed orders for new MOCVD equipment.
Following the devaluation of sterling in June 2016, currency provided a tailwind of c.10% year on year, however the impact is largely presentational as the majority of the Group’s costs are also denominated in foreign currency.
Notice of Results
The Group expects to report its half-year results for 2017 on 5th September 2017.
Dr Drew Nelson, Chief Executive of IQE, said:
"The first half of 2017 has been a very exciting time for the IQE Group. Overall, all business units have progressed in line with expectations, although the Photonics unit has been the stand out with continued strong double digit growth, accelerating towards the end of the first half. The Group has multiple high growth opportunities ahead, and in order to ensure future capacity is in place in a timely fashion to address H2 2018 and subsequent demand, we have announced an MOU with Cardiff City Region to secure operational facilities in a highly cost effective arrangement, together with initial orders for increased MOCVD capacity. In light of recent progress and its increasingly confident outlook, the Board expects the Group will now exceed market expectations for the full year and whilst it remains early into the start of the mass-market adoption of our technology, it is possible that with the current contract momentum, a more significant upgrade to current market expectations could be delivered for 2018."
The information contained within this announcement is deemed to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014. Upon the publication of this announcement, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
VCSEL................ Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser
GaN.................... Gallium Nitride
RF...................... Radio Frequency
DFB.................... Distributed Feedback Laser
cREO™.............. Crystalline Rare Earth Oxide
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