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Tuesday, May 30, 2023
May 30, 2023

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Camas-based nLIGHT trimmed workforce 5% last year, reports 16% loss last quarter

By , Columbian staff writer

Camas-based nLIGHT disclosed it has cut its workforce by about 5 percent as it reported mounting losses at its latest quarterly earnings presentation.

During the presentation last week, the company said it reduced its workforce from around 1,350 employees in June 2022 to around 1,150 at the end of the year.

nLIGHT reported revenues were down 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared with the fourth quarter of 2021. It brought in $56.7 million at the end of 2022 and $67.5 million at the end of 2021. The company reported a net loss of $22.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared with a $8.8 million loss the previous year.

Year-over-year, nLIGHT had a net loss of $54.6 million in 2022 compared with $29.7 million the year before. Revenues were $242.1 million in 2022 compared with $270.1 million in 2021.

The company completed installation of key automation equipment in Camas last year and implemented a new enterprise resource planning system.

“We believe these investments will strengthen our position as a trusted domestic laser provider for the defense market, better align our manufacturing and strategic customers in key regions of our commercial growth and better control our manufacturing output,” said Scott Keeney, nLIGHT’s president and chief executive, during the company’s investor call.

Keeney said the process wasn’t easy, but the company made progress in the fourth quarter of last year.

In a statement, Keeney said the company’s 2022 performance reflected the continuing evolution of the business.

The company had previously done significant business with customers in China, representing more than 45 percent of the company’s revenues when it went public in 2018. At the end of 2022, Chinese customers represented just 9 percent of revenues.

COVID lockdowns and economic softening in China affected nLIGHT’s business there.

“Strong execution of our strategic growth initiatives enabled us to achieve 21 percent growth in Industrial and Microfabrication outside China this year, which grew to a record $133 million, more than double the revenues we generated in these markets in 2020,” Keeney said in the statement.

Keeney said in the company’s Feb. 23 earnings call that nLIGHT’s defense business declined last year but increased in the last quarter compared with the third quarter of 2022. That is a key growth area for the Camas business.

“Today, nLIGHT is a critical supplier to several defense customers and we are well positioned to continue our work on existing programs,” Keeney said.

“We believe our core laser design, process engineering know-how and secure U.S. manufacturing capabilities position us well to pursue and support additional opportunities in the defense market,” he added.

nLIGHT’s stocks declined after the company’s earnings presentation last week. It closed on Feb. 23, the day the presentation was made, at $12.48 a share. It closed the following day at $11 a share. The stock, which trades as LASR on the Nasdaq, closed at $11.30 a share Tuesday.