Plasma Control Technologies 


“We have used the correction to increase our resilience and at the same time drive forward the market launch of Synertia®.”

Joeri Durinckx

President, Plasma Control Technologies

In 2023, the correction in the semiconductor cycle that began toward the end of 2022 continued at an accelerated pace. High inventories, low demand, overcapacity (particularly in the memory chip segment), and an inflation-induced slowdown in the global economy prompted microchip manufacturers to scale back their investments in semiconductor equipment. As a result, there was less demand for Comet’s components and services, with a negative impact on the volume-sensitive business of the Plasma Control Technologies (PCT) division.

To mitigate the impact of the industry correction on earnings, the division’s management adapted the organization to the lower demand. This essentially comprised measures such as the reduction of temporary staff, adjustments to working hours, the introduction of short-time working and the shutdown of production for a week at a time. To ensure the company’s readiness for the next upturn in the semiconductor cycle, all these measures were implemented with particular care.

Improving its structural positioning, PCT completed the consolidation of its sites in San Jose, California, as planned. The move to a single new building provides employees with an innovative working environment and enables even better collaboration with customers. The plans for the further expansion of the site in Penang, Malaysia, continued to progress. Comet has secured land at this location for a new building that is currently in planning.

Despite the current downturn, the secular trends in the semiconductor industry are intact. Comet’s customers, the manufacturers of semiconductor production equipment, will continue their longer-term investments in order to stay technologically competitive and be ready for strong demand in the next upturn. This means that PCT’s long-run growth prospects remain robust despite the transition year 2023. The market launch of the Synertia® RF power delivery platform, the important new growth driver, is advancing further. A first design win with a Tier 1 customer and over 50 active collaborations with existing and potential customers are evidence of the keen and broad-based interest that the platform is attracting in the market. The first sales in 2023 and the well-filled pipeline of projects point to the prospect of accelerated market penetration with further gains in market share.

Sales of the PCT division fell by 49.4% to CHF 193.2 million, from CHF 381.4 million in the prior year. The measures taken to adjust the cost structure were not able to fully cushion the impact on profitability. Operating earnings at EBITDA level were 82.2% lower year-over-year at CHF 18.7 million (prior year: CHF 104.9 million). The EBITDA margin was thus 9.7% (prior year: 27.5%).

Key financials of Plasma Control Technologies at a glance




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Sales of Plasma Control Technologies division by market