Metal additive manufacturing ventures were a share-booster in 2013.
I wonder how 2013 will be reflected upon in the Dorling Kindersley History of Additive Manufacturing, when Dorling Kindersley furnishes us with such a tome, that is? An advent of the technology perhaps? Or maybe the most disruptive and news-packed year for 3D printing is yet to come?
We can't accurately predict the future and this is certainly the case for the financial markets. Even recent history has taught us that we really cannot afford to rest on our laurels relax knowing our stocks are going to continue to rise. What we can do, however, is look back.
Here's my market roundup of the big three, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and ExOne (NASDAQ:XONE) reflecting on how they started the year on their respective New York indices, how they are looking to finish the year and what their most recent quarterly statements predicted for the 2013 financial year.
3D Systems has had a prosperous 2013, with the 3D printing industry juggernaut peppering not only the sector's trade press and websites, but the wider tech media as well, with new releases, announcements of appearances at major trade events and - of course - acquisitions.
Perhaps 3D Systems' most newsworthy deals of the year were struck with Phenix Systems, which has enriched 3D Systems' metal additive manufacturing output, and the more recent merger with Figulo, a leading ceramic additive manufacturing company.
After a successful third quarter, which saw 3D Systems' third-quarter revenue increase by 50 per cent year on year to $135.7 million on a 76 per cent increase in 3D printer revenue, the company revised its full year guidance to between $500 million and $530 million.
Shares in 3D Systems started the year at around $35 per unit and in that time have more than doubled in value. Indeed, at open in New York today (December 20th 2013) 3D Systems stocks exceeded the previous 52-week high of $83.19 to $85.23. Let's just say it's a very merry Christmas for shareholders.
Stratasys surprised all of us by announcing it was the mystery buyer acquiring consumer 3D printing super-brand MakerBot back in June. Unlike its main rival 3D Systems, Stratasys is much less prolific in its acquisitions, but as we saw with Objet in 2012, when Stratasys buys a company it goes for the biggest fish in the pond.
We will be seeing more of the repercussions of this massive buyout in the new year, but until then, Stratasys has been enjoying the spoils of its Objet merger, which was completed pretty much exactly a year ago.
Like 3D Systems, Stratasys had a good third quarter, revealing non-GAAP revenue for the period (including MakerBot) of $126.1 million - a 39 per cent increase over the $90.9 million Stratasys and Objet pro forma combined revenue for the same period in 2012.
The optimism conveyed for the October-December period meant Stratasys also revised its full year guidance of between $470 million and $490 million against a previous guidance of between $455 million and $480 million.
CEO David Reis commented: "Our industry remains ripe for growth as new and innovative applications continue to emerge for our technology. We are very excited about the future." This rousing conclusion to the Q3 results helped to boost Stratasys' shares on the NASDAQ to jump to their 52-week high of $128.17.
After starting the year pretty much square on $80.00 per unit, Stratasys shares are now hovering in the mid-$120s, starting today's trading on $125.31 per share. Although shareholders have endured some troughs along the way, Stratasys shares have made steady progress and the arrival of more quantifiable evidence the MakerBot deal is going to be as lucrative as it feels will reflect well on full-year results when they start coming in.
Finally ExOne. 2013 has certainly been a year in which metal additive manufacturing has been given time in the sun and ExOne could not have planned its IPO for a better time when it comes to enticing investors in the know.
Nevertheless, the road has not always been a smooth one for ExOne this year on the NASDAQ, which is not unusual for companies that have not yet been public for a year. As ExOne approaches its one year anniversary, though, investors will be looking for the bumps to begin to smooth out.
ExOne reported $11.6 million in third quarter revenue, which is a $3.1 million increase over the same quarter in 2012. This rise of more than one-third (36 per cent) was driven by eight machine sales, with customers in Japan, Germany, Russia and the US.
ExOne said in October that it expects to end the year at the lower end of its guidance spectrum - so closer to $48 million than $52 million.
On February 7th, ExOne announced its IPO would be priced to the public at $18.00 per unit. On open today ExOne shares were stable at $54.78 per unit, which is a good head and shoulders below the year's $75.7 peak.
I'd like to see more communication from ExOne, which is reassuringly industrious, but very quiet compared to its rivals. But then who says you need to be making lots of noise to do good business?