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MakerBot Restructures to Focus on Education, Professionals

Stratasys has posted a first quarter loss, largely because of restructuring issues surrounding its MakerBot division.

Leading 3D print manufacturer Stratasys has lowered its revenue projections for 2015, and expects to post a loss for the year. The company reported a $216 million loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2015, which the Israel/U.S.-based company said was precipitated by an industrial slowdown, the MakerBot reboot and the strong U.S. dollar. Last year at this time, profits were $4.1 million.

The company did see increased service and consumables revenue, and snagged a valuable contract with Airbus. Stratasys also announced a new North American distribution agreement with WYNIT.StratasysLogoWithTagline_CMYK

The MakerBot restructuring accounted for $194 million of the loss. Excluding that cost and other on-time items, adjusted earnings were positive $2 million. Revenue rose 14% to $172.7 million, up 14.4% over last year.

The company claims revenue would have been $7.8 million more, but for the strong U.S. dollar causing currency exchange issues.

The company expects full-year 2015 sales of $800 million to $860 million, down from the $940 million projection given in March. Total losses for the year are expected to be between $224 and $256 million.

“Although we have modified our near-term operating and capital investment plans to align with softness in market conditions, we will remain focused on the future and continue to execute on a multiyear investment plan designed to drive accelerated adoption of 3D printing solutions and increased sales growth,” said CEO David Reis in a conference call with analysts in early May.

While retailers like Staples, Home Depot, Amazon and others signed agreements to carry the MakerBot consumer 3D printers, there were complaints about the printers’ extruder performance, which resulted in large numbers of returns. Reis has said that the retailer agreements remain in place, and that the company is working to fix the MakerBot printer issues.

MakerBot, meanwhile, has closed its three retail stores, laid off 20% of its employees, and shifted its focus to the education and professional (rather than consumer) markets. However, the company will continue to sell printers via traditional retail channels. In March, MakerBot announced its printers would be available at more than 300 Sam’s Club locations.

Source: Star Tribune 

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Brian Albright

Brian Albright is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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