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News / Business / Clark County Business

nLIGHT Q1 revenue climbs 42% year over year

Vancouver-based industrial laser maker’s sales up in key markets

By Anthony Macuk, Columbian business reporter
Published: May 7, 2021, 3:39pm

Vancouver-based industrial laser manufacturer nLIGHT released its first-quarter financial results Thursday, detailing a strong quarter with annual growth across all of its major sales markets.

The company reported $61 million in total first-quarter revenue, a 42 percent year-over-year increase and the third-highest quarterly revenue figure in the company’s history following the third and fourth quarters of 2020.

“Q1 was a strong start to the year for nLIGHT,” CEO Scott Keeney said in a Thursday afternoon conference call with investors and analysts.

The company reported a gross margin of 28.8 percent and an adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization, or EBITDA, of $5.99 million, with non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or non-GAAP, earnings of 6 cents per diluted share.

Sales in the microfabrication, industrial and aerospace and defense industries — which nLIGHT identifies as its three primary end markets — all saw year-over-year growth. The microfabrication market accounted for about 25 percent of revenue, with industrial supplying 35 percent and the remaining 40 percent coming from aerospace and defense.

China is nLIGHT’s biggest single geographic market, and accounted for 25 percent of sales revenue in the first quarter, the company reported, with a 29 percent year-over-year revenue increase. The “rest of the world” geographic segment saw a 47 percent year-over-year sales increase, which Keeney said was in keeping with the company’s recent efforts to expand its presence in markets outside of China.

Keeney said the growth was driven by strong demand for high-power lasers and nLIGHT’s programmable lasers, as well as the general reopening of industries in places where the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to ebb.

“What we’re seeing is our customers by and large are doing well, and many of them have discussed with me how they’re effectively sold out right now and really struggling to meet the demand they see,” he said.

In the industrial sector, he pointed to electric vehicle manufacturing as an area where industrial lasers are displacing older tools for both cutting and welding functions, both in battery assembly and the actual vehicle body manufacturing.

Advanced electronics are a big driver of sales to the microfabrication section, he said, citing the development of 5G devices and the buildout of 5G networks as one of the biggest examples. The big growth driver in the aerospace and defense market is directed energy applications, he added.

nLIGHT’s stock, which trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol LASR, rose sharply during the opening hour of trading Friday, rising from $25.51 to close at $27.02.

Columbian business reporter