There’s already been a lot of money made with the alternative energy investment theme, particularly within the solar energy sector. Long-time readers of this column will know that I’ve written about all kinds of solar energy companies that have become substantial wealth creators over the last 18 months.
Recently, I discovered another exciting company in this industry. This company, called Amtech Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ/ASYS), manufactures specialized equipment that is used to automate the handling of silicon wafers and semiconductors used in the fabrication of solar cells and semiconductor devices.
If you think about all the money being raised by solar cell manufacturers, you’ll realize they’re investing billions in new infrastructure in order to produce more product (mainly for customers in Europe).
Amtech Systems, founded in 1981, was first known as Quartz Engineering & Materials, Inc. before it changed to its current name in 1987. The company is based in Tempe, Arizona.
According to the company, its revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007, ended September 30, 2007, grew to a record thirteen million dollars, representing sequential growth of two percent, and comparable quarterly growth of 16% over revenues of just over eleven million dollars in the fourth quarter of 2006. Amtech noted that most of the increase in revenues was due to more solar- product-related sales.
Gross margin in the fourth quarter was 31%, up from 24% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006.
Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was $1.1 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, as compared to net income of $0.5 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006.
As of September 30, 2007, the company’s order backlog was just over twenty-three million dollars, representing an impressive 70% increase over the backlog in the comparable quarter last year.
For all of fiscal 2007, the company’s total revenues grew 14% to forty-six million dollars. Net income was $2.4 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, as compared to $1.3 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for fiscal 2006.
Recently, Amtech’s subsidiary, Tempress Systems Incorporated, received an additional $8.9 million in orders for what are known as diffusion processing systems from the solar cell industry. According to the company, the new orders will be fulfilled to customers in the Asia-Pacific market.
Looking to fiscal 2008, the company anticipates that its revenues will grow to between sixty-five million dollars and seventy-five million dollars, representing growth of approximately 40% to 60% over fiscal 2007. Solar revenues are expected to be the company’s primary growth driver.
Gross margins are expected to remain at current levels in the first half of fiscal 2008, improving in the second half of fiscal 2008.
Amtech Systems is a small company that is just now getting the critical mass necessary to become successful. This stock has been around for a while and the company has had some problems. With this in mind, this company could turn out to be a great domestic play on the growth of solar energy production worldwide.