The COMET Group achieved material progress in all core strategic thrusts in 2014. The intensive market development with technologically leading solutions is producing results; business with important key accounts was expanded, and new projects and customers were won in the semiconductor industry as well as the security and industrial x-ray sectors. With the launch of the new CT product family, the Group offers high-precision, easy-to-use inspection systems under the YXLON brand. An important platform has thus been created for addressing future requirements with unsurpassed solutions.
Substantial progress in emerging businesses
In the emerging businesses of ebeam and RF generators, the COMET Group also made advances. The development of the ebeam business is progressing as planned. Following the delivery of the first commercial ebeam-equipped packaging machine this past summer, more Tetra Pak systems for the sterilization of milk packaging have been installed at customer sites in Japan. In Flamatt, as part of the implementation of the scalable production concept, preparations are underway for the installation of an ebeam manufacturing cell that will allow the start of series production in the medium term. To gain wider market access, an ebeam-equipped system was developed for the curing of printing ink, in partnership with a system integrator.
In portable x-ray modules, a new generation of product, Smart Evo, was recently presented at trade shows. In RF generators, through a project in Korea, important features were developed for the future use of these generators in the semiconductor industry.
Going ahead with planned capital expenditures; Stepping up efforts on three fronts
To perpetuate its profitable growth, the COMET Group remains committed to the budgeted investment in the strategic growth initiatives (ebeam, CT, RF generators). In addition, activity on three different fronts will be escalated: Asia, RF generators, and profitability at gross margin level. Thus, the Group will drive forward the accelerated expansion of its organization in China and the enlargement of the customer base. In RF generators, the focus is on expanding and completing the product portfolio and further bolstering the sales channels. Lastly, a number of measures are being taken to help boost gross margin, including the simplification of the product development process, the completion of the ongoing programs for efficiency improvement, and further professionalization of pricing and portfolio management.
Well positioned; 3D technology drives business
With its high-performing core technologies of x-ray, radio frequency and ebeam, the COMET Group is superbly placed for growth going forward by leveraging global market trends such as mobile communication, resource conservation, miniaturization, and safety of products and processes. An important driver for the Group's business is proving to be the third dimension: The change from 2D to 3D memory chips is requiring ever faster and more precise high-frequency solutions of the kind that COMET is developing. For non-destructive testing as well, 3D imaging techniques are in growing demand. In the ebeam area, the Group is working on solutions for the treatment of three-dimensional substances.
Strategy stands unchanged; Group maintains forecast for 2014 and 2015
The executive management and Board are staying the strategic course. Next to organic growth, the Group's leadership will also look at focused acquisitions that can increase existing expertise and exploit attractive growth opportunities.
The COMET Group reiterates its forecast for 2014 of CHF 275-295 million in sales and an EBITDA margin of 13-14%. For 2015 the Board of Directors and Executive Committee expect continuing profitable growth and reaffirm the strategic targets set for 2015: sales of CHF 300 million and an EBITDA margin of 15%.
Financial calendar for the COMET Group
March 19, 2015
Publication of annual report 2014
April 22, 2015
Annual Shareholder Meeting
The COMET Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of systems and components for the non-destructive testing, security and semiconductor markets. Since acquiring the YXLON group, COMET has been the global market leader in X-ray-based non-destructive testing and examination. With core competencies in vacuum technology, high voltage engineering and materials science and with core products that include x-ray tubes and vacuum capacitors, COMET is a one-stop provider of a complete and highly flexible range of components, modules, systems and services. The activities are grouped into three segments: X-Ray & ebeam Technologies (under the COMET and ebeam brands), Plasma Control Technologies (under the COMET brand) and X-Ray Systems (under the YXLON brand).
COMET was founded in 1948 and is based in Flamatt near Berne, Switzerland. The COMET Group has a presence in all world markets. The company operates production facilities in Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, China and the USA and maintains other subsidiaries in the USA, China, Japan and Korea. COMET’s stock (COTN) is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.