Last week, at the epicenter of the European coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, SLM Solutions – a German manufacturer of metal 3D industrial printing systems, published its financial results for 2019. According to earlier signals – there was no surprise here – last year was terrible for the company. Revenues fell by over 30%, machine sales by almost half, while the loss was equal to revenues… Although the company’s management board announces optimistic prospects for the company’s future, it is worth starting to wonder if, in the face of the impending economic crisis caused by the lockdown of the economy, SLM Solutions will survive the COVID-19 pandemic…?
First, some information from the published financial report: in 2019, the company’s revenues amounted to € 47.9 million, compared to € 71.6 million a year earlier. It is also another year in a row when revenues are falling – in 2017 SLM Solutions achieved revenues of € 82.5 million. The company sold only 49 machines, while in 2018: 99, and in 2017: 113. The number of new orders also dropped, although just slightly here: 87 in 2019, 92 in 2018 and 113 in 2017. The loss for the entire 2019 amounted to -47 million €.
However, SLM Solutions announced that order intake value of €67.7 million for FY2019 was up 20.8% compared to 2018, which was at €56 million. Order intake for the firm in Q4 2019 grew by 100 percent from €14.7 million to €29.5 million compared to Q4 2018. According to that figures Meddah Hadjar – CEO of SLM Solutions says:
The path to sustainable economic success will take time. The first tangible results can already be seen in the order intake. Despite the difficult market environment in the Additive Manufacturing industry, our order backlog grew significantly in the second half of 2019. This is an indication that we have been able to regain market share and to gain customers’ confidence, particularly in the USA, int the aerospace industry, as well as in the automotive sector.
And all this would sound quite reasonable if it were not for the COVID-19 pandemic and the collapse of world supply chains which resulted in the consequent gigantic earthquake that is currently going through all branches of the economy… If in 2019, when one of the greatest dramas of the Western world was the disappointing ending of “Game of Thrones”, SLM Solutions could generate a loss of nearly € 50 million, so at a time when the global economy is heading for intensive therapy, the company can really be difficult to survive.
Over the past two years, virtually all information on SLM Solutions that we have published on the portal has been related to further financial losses or disappointing sales results. It can be said that since the would-be acquisition of the company by GE in 2016, it has been gradually declining. If by some miracle she manages to survive 2020, it is possible that it will be a new beginning for her. If not – no one should feel surprised…