Outlook for 2021

Outlook for 2021

Comet looks to the future with optimism.

Comet has started 2021 a stronger entity, with a sound balance sheet, high order backlog, a more efficient organization and a flexible, global production network. Thanks to our heightened focus on the fast-growing semiconductor and electronics market, we are well positioned to continue to improve earnings in 2021.

“We will continue the vigorous execution of our growth strategy”

Kevin Crofton

CEO of the Comet Group

The pace of digitalization and the growth in the processing of large amounts of data (in a word, big data) have accelerated. Applications such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things with networked production, and the expansion of the 5G mobile communications standard continue to drive up data volume exponentially. The demand for IT hardware is rising similarly strongly, as are the demands on semiconductor-based IT infrastructure such as data centers, which ensure reliable data storage and processing. Thus, SEMI, the semiconductor equipment and materials industry association, projects nearly double-digit growth in global semiconductor manufacturing equipment sales in 2021, following a record 2020.

There are also signs of an upswing in the Group’s other important end markets. While the market situation remains challenging after the renewed tightening of restrictions to combat the pandemic at the beginning of 2021, progress in the world’s vaccination programs suggests a gradual return to normality lies ahead. This should also improve the situation for our x-ray business in its core markets of automotive, aerospace and security.

In this dynamic environment, we will press ahead with the focused expansion of Comet’s already strong market position and continue to invest in innovation and in the expansion of our product portfolio. As last year, we will give absolute priority to the safety of all employees and customers.

The market setting remains subject to uncertainty. Provided the macroeconomic situation does not deteriorate significantly, the Comet Group expects a further increase in sales, EBITDA and EBITDA margin for the full year 2021 compared to fiscal 2020.

Plasma Control Technologies

The fundamental growth driver for the semiconductor market – the digitalization of society and of the economy – is stronger than ever. The Plasma Control Technologies division (PCT) will benefit from this growth trajectory and further strengthen and expand its position in existing markets, such as that for generators. For example, PCT will be working at high speed to bring to market the new RF generator currently in testing. At the same time, it will ramp up production capacity for impedance matching networks at the new Penang site in Malaysia to meet increased demand. Another thrust is the continual further development of vacuum capacitors, through which Comet intends to meet the rising requirements of its customers in the semiconductor market and address new applications as they emerge.

“Our main focus is the growing semiconductor and electronics market. This puts us in a good position to keep delivering growth in 2021.”

Kevin Crofton

CEO of the Comet Group

X-Ray Modules

To build on the early market success of its offering launched specifically for the electronics and semiconductor market, the X-Ray Modules division (IXM) in 2021 seeks to strengthen and grow its presence in this important future growth market. Having taken over the open microfocus tubes business from the X-Ray Systems division, IXM has added this product group to its portfolio and will now make these tubes available to a wider customer base for non-destructive testing applications, including in particular the electronics and semiconductor markets. IXM will also continue to flexibly expand its manufacturing capacity and position itself even closer to its customers. To do so, it will look to performing labor-intensive, non-critical steps in the manufacturing process of new products at the Comet Group’s recently opened site in Malaysia and will work to enhance the division’s supply chain.

X-Ray Systems

In 2021 the X-Ray Systems division (IXS) will methodically continue the transformation process that was intensified in 2020. In the medium term in its three core markets of electronics & semiconductor, automotive, and aerospace, the division sees attractive potential, with growth drivers that differ in strength but are sustainable. After a pandemic-related slump in fiscal year 2020, IXS expects business to be stable and, if conditions are favorable, to pick up again. In the medium to long term, demand for inspection technologies for 3D packaging in the electronics market can be expected to increase as a result of advancing digitalization. The division will systematically gear its product portfolio to these promising applications. A key emphasis is placed on the expansion of capabilities in data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Following last year’s acquisition of the Canadian software developer Object Research Systems, the X-Ray Systems division is making it a high priority in 2021 to leverage ORS’s wealth of expertise in this promising field in order to offer customers a greater range of digital services.




What Covid-driven changes can we keep as we go forward?

Listen to what our Executive Committee has to say.