General Electric (NYSE:GE) will pay €549M for a 75% stake in Concept Laser GmbH, after its plan to acquire another German 3-D printing company, SLM Solutions (OTC:SLGRF), fell through earlier this week. It also raised its bid for Arcam (OTCPK:AMAVF) AB to $696M.
GE and its competitors have begun to invest seriously in additive manufacturing, which produces parts with less work than traditional production methods, generates less scrap material and expands design possibilities.
Continuing a rough 2015, 3D Systems (DDD -6.6%), Stratasys (SSYS -5.8%), Organovo (ONVO -10.6%), Arcam (OTCPK:AMAVF -6.1%), and Voxeljet (VJET -4.9%) have seen outsized losses on a day the Nasdaq fell 2.9%. Volume was generally below-average.
Short interests indicate many shorts with large profits have chosen not to cover: 3D Systems had 35% of its float shorted as of Aug. 14, Stratasys 28%, Organovo 26%, and Voxeljet 11%.
Earlier today, Stratasys announced the Objet30 Dental Prime, a 3D printer aimed at smaller dental labs. The company promises the printer's High Quality mode can deliver "intricate, delicate features required for precise fittings on crown, bridge, and prosthetic models" via 16-micron layers.
Meanwhile, Organovo CEO Keith Murphy defended his company in a talk with Benzinga - he discussed partnerships with Merck, L'Oreal, and Yale, and downplayed Organovo's FQ1 numbers. "We reported about $300K in revenue for the first quarter, and we're seeing some reaction to that, I would say. The bigger picture is, last quarter we had $2 million in booked contracts. The fact that these (contracts) take a couple of quarters to be recognized as revenue shouldn't surprise anyone."
In addition to 3D Systems (up 6% with the help of fresh GE-related M&A chatter) printer makers Stratasys (SSYS +2.6%), ExOne (XONE +6%), Voxeljet (VJET +4.5%), and Arcam (OTCPK:AMAVF +2.4%) have posted healthy gains, and so has 3D measurement/scanning hardware maker Perceptron (PRCP +4.4%). The Nasdaq is up 0.1%.
Shorts, many of whom undoubtedly have large paper profits, might be cashing in: Stratasys, ExOne, and Voxeljet respectively had 22%, 33%, and 12% of their floats shorted as of May 29.
Though 3D printer makers have seen their shares pummeled in 2014 and early 2015 thanks to a mixture of earnings disappointments, margin/spending concerns, and multiple compression, Canalys forecasts total sales of 3D printers and related materials/services will rise another 56% in 2015 to $5.2B. It also forecasts a 44% industry CAGR from 2014-2019, leading revenue to reach $20.2B.
Canalys' Joe Kempton notes improving printer speeds, the availability of new materials, and the launch of new manufacturing methods have boosted growth. He also observes patent expirations have helped the vat polymerization segment of the 3D printer market grow rapidly; material extrusion printers have historically held a much larger shipment share.
At the same time, Kempton points out there has been a major increase in the number of industry players, particularly from Asia. "In the next five years, more companies will move in to establish their own niches ... Long-existing vendors such as Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) are well placed to take advantage of this growth but may find their dominant positions challenged by newer rivals."
The aerospace, automotive, and medical markets are expected to remain major enterprise growth drivers, as firms such as GE, Boeing, and BMW continue investing heavily in 3D printing. On the consumer side, $500 is seen as the "sweet spot at which many consumers are likely to make impulsive purchasing decisions; " 3D Systems' Cube printer goes for $999. Kempton also argues performance, materials, and software improvements are still needed for consumer adoption to take off.
Clobbered on Tuesday thanks to Stratasys' warning and soft 2015 guidance, 3D printing stocks are up sharply amid a market rally (the Nasdaq is up 0.7%). 3D Systems (DDD +4.8%), Stratasys (SSYS +7.3%), Voxeljet (VJET +3.8%), ExOne (XONE +4%), and Arcam (OTCPK:AMAVF +5.1%) are among the gainers.
Possibly helping the group: 3D modeling/simulation software firm Dassault and industrial prototyping services firm Proto Labs have each soared after posting Q4 beats. Though each firm only gets a fraction of its revenue from 3D printing/additive manufacturing use cases, they've each occasionally been hyped as 3D printing plays.
Gabelli recently made a contrarian call on 3D Systems and Stratasys, upgrading the printer makers following the latter's warning. The firm argued 3D's shares have "limited downside" at an enterprise value of 14.8x estimated 2016 EBITDA, and praises Stratasys' "extensive product and service portfolio and its focus on high-value business applications."
Organovo (ONVO -4.2%), Proto Labs (PRLB -5.4%), and Arcam (OTCPK:AMAVF -4.9%) have joined 3D Systems, ExOne, and Voxeljet in selling off in the wake of Stratasys' Q4/2014 warning and light 2015 guidance.
Proto Labs is far from a 3D printing pure-play - the company is a custom-parts maker for industrial prototyping, one that supports 3D printing and other manufacturing techniques. Organovo, as a developer of 3D-printed human tissues, is a very different kind of 3D printing firm than the printer makers.
Proto Labs' Q4 report arrives on Thursday morning.
Regulatory concerns are holding back the widespread adoption of 3D printing, a market that is predicted to reach $21B worldwide by 2020, compared with just $3.1B last year.
The need to satisfy regulators about safety is an "obstacle" to the technology’s advance in certain sectors, says Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) CEO David Reis. "Every part has to go through testing...every technology, every material has to go through certification."
Manufacturers are facing many hard to win approvals, ranging from the FAA for the production of aerospace parts to the FDA for healthcare devices.
Volatile and heavily-shorted 3D printing names are among the bigger decliners as the Nasdaq posts a 1.4% drop. Volumes for several names are already near or above their 3-month daily averages.
ExOne (XONE -10.6%) has tumbled to a fresh post-IPO low, and Voxeljet (VJET -3%) is close to its post-IPO low of $12.85. Also selling off: DDD -4.5%. SSYS -5.2%. CAMT -8.7%. ONVO -3.8%. OTCPK:AMAVF -5.9%.
3D Systems (DDD) +0.8% AH and Stratasys (SSYS) +0.9% after Deutsche starts coverage with Buy ratings. Fellow 3D printer maker ExOne has been started at Hold.
The day has already seen Pac Crest start coverage on 3D Systems with an Outperform and Stratasys/ExOne with Sector Performs, and Nomura argue current industry hype is excessive. Also: Piper's Troy Jensen has issued another bullish industry report after returning from last week's EuroMold trade show.
Jensen states 3D Systems, which introduced new high-end printers, materials, and software, was by far "the most active at EuroMold with respect to new product introductions." He's especially a fan of a new metal printer from 3D's recently-acquired Phenix Systems unit.
Jensen also liked Stratasys' launch of a nylon printing material (resellers are upbeat), and says a visit to the HQ of Swedish printer maker Arcam (AMAVF) indicates the company is focused on rapidly expanding (it currently has only 65 employees).