As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 30, 2023
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS
PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS
DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements concerning our business, operations and financial performance and condition as well as our plans, objectives and expectations for our business operations and financial performance and condition. Any statements that are not of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. You can identify these forward-looking statements by words such as “believes,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “aims,” or other similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes. Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places throughout this annual report and include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs, assumptions, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things, our indebtedness and ability to continue as a going concern, results of operations, cash needs, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, growth and strategies, intellectual property position, the industry in which we operate and the trends that may affect the industry or us.
By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events, competitive dynamics and industry change, and depend on economic circumstances that may or may not occur in the future or may occur on longer or shorter timelines than anticipated. Although we believe that we have a reasonable basis for each forward-looking statement contained in this annual report, we caution you that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are in some cases beyond our control. All of our forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ materially from our expectations.
Actual results could differ materially from our forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including, without limitation, risks related to:
|●||health epidemics and other widespread outbreaks of contagious disease, such as COVID-19, which could significantly disrupt our operations and impact our operating results and/or cash flows;|
|●||our ability to maintain our operations as a going concern;|
|●||our ability to maintain sufficient internal control over financial reporting to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as applicable, and to mitigate and remediate effectively the material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting;|
|●||our ability to raise additional capital on attractive terms, or at all, to meet our growth strategy as well as to support the continuation of our operation;|
|●||fluctuations in our revenues and operating results;|
|●||our ability to manage the expansion of our operations, including sales efforts, effectively, including in difficult market environments like India and China, in order to achieve our projected levels of growth;|
|●||our ability to attract and retain key management or other key employees;|
|●||rapid changes in government, economic and political policies and conditions, political or civil unrest or instability, war or terrorism, climate change, epidemics or pandemics;|
|●||our ability to introduce new 3D printers and related print materials acceptable to the market and to improve the technology and print materials used in our current 3D printers;|
|●||the long sales cycle for our products, which makes the timing of our production planning and our revenues difficult to predict;|
|●||our ability to adequately increase demand for our products;|
|●||declines in the prices of our products and services, or in our volume of sales;|
|●||our dependence upon sales to certain industries;|
|●||our relationships with suppliers, especially with limited source suppliers of components of and consumables for our products;|
|●||significant fluctuations in the price of our American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”);|
|●||our ability to maintain our exemption, as a foreign private issuer, from certain requirements under United States (or “U.S.”). securities laws and NASDAQ Capital Market (the “NASDAQ”) corporate governance rules;|
|●||our ability to obtain patent protection for our products or otherwise protect our intellectual property rights;|
|●||our ability to protect our trade secrets and intellectual property; and|
|●||the other factors listed in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report.|
Any forward-looking statements that we make in this annual report speak only as of the date of such statement, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this annual report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Comparisons of results for current and any prior periods are not intended to express any future trends or indications of future performance, unless expressed as such, and should only be viewed as historical data. You should, however, review the factors and risks we describe in the reports we will file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) after the date of this annual report. See “Item 10. Additional Information—H. Documents on Display.”
You should also read carefully the factors described in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” section of this annual report and elsewhere to better understand the risks and uncertainties inherent in our business and underlying any forward-looking statements. As a result of these factors, we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements in this annual report will prove to be accurate. Furthermore, if our forward-looking statements prove to be inaccurate, the inaccuracy may be material. In light of the significant uncertainties in these forward-looking statements, you should not regard these statements as a representation or warranty by us or any other person that we will achieve our objectives and plans in any specified timeframe, or at all.
In this annual report, unless the context otherwise requires, the “Company,” “voxeljet,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to voxeljet AG and its subsidiaries.
SUMMARY OF RISK FACTORS
Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. The following is a summary of the principal factors that make an investment in our securities speculative or risky, all of which are more fully described below in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” section of this annual report. This summary should be read in conjunction with the “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” section and should not be relied upon as an exhaustive summary of the material risks facing our business.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
|●||We face risks related to health epidemics such as COVID-19;|
|●||We have incurred losses to date and anticipate continuing to incur losses in the future;|
|●||Material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting have been identified;|
|●||We need to raise additional financial resources in form of equity and/or debt to fund our operation and may be unable to do so on attractive terms, or at all;|
|●||Our revenues, operating results, margins and EBIT may fluctuate from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year;|
|●||Our operations could suffer if we are unable to attract and retain key management or skilled employees;|
|●||We face significant competition in many aspects of our business;|
|●||Our operations outside of Germany and related risks could adversely affect our results of operations;|
|●||We may engage in future acquisitions that could disrupt our business;|
|●||Global economic, political and social conditions have adversely impacted our sales and may continue to do so;|
|●||Failure to comply with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act could result in fines and criminal penalties;|
|●||Our operations are subject to government regulations which could result in liabilities;|
|●||We may not have adequate insurance, including for liabilities arising from litigation;|
|●||Climate change may have an impact on our business.|
Risks Related to Our Products
|●||We may not be able to introduce new 3D printers and related print materials to meet customer demands;|
|●||Declines in the prices of our products and services, or in our sales may adversely affect our results;|
|●||Demand for our products may not increase adequately;|
|●||Defects in new products could result in material expenses, diversion of management time and attention, and damage to our reputation;|
|●||Disruption of our manufacturing facility could result in loss of revenues and unforeseen costs.|
Risks Related to Information Technology and Information Security
|●||A disruption of our information technology systems could adversely affect our results of operations;|
|●||Regulation in the areas of privacy, data protection and information security could increase our costs.|
Risks Related to Our Dependence on Third Parties
|●||We are highly dependent upon sales to certain industries;|
|●||If our relationships with suppliers were to terminate or be disrupted, our business could be adversely affected.|
Risks Related to Ownership of Our ADSs
|●||The price of our ADSs may fluctuate significantly;|
|●||Substantial future sales of our ordinary shares or ADSs could cause the price of the ADSs to decline;|
|●||Our principal shareholders and management will be able to exert significant influence over matters subject to shareholder approval;|
|●||Holders of our ADSs may not have the same rights as the holders of our ordinary shares;|
|●||We have no present intention to pay dividends on our ordinary shares in the foreseeable future;|
|●||As a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from a number of rules under the U.S. securities laws and NASDAQ corporate governance rules;|
|●||We incur significant costs to operate as a company whose ADSs are publicly traded in the United States;|
|●||U.S. investors may have difficulty enforcing civil liabilities against our Company;|
|●||Your rights as a shareholder in a German corporation may differ from those in a U.S. corporation;|
|●||Exchange rate fluctuations may reduce the amount of U.S. dollars you receive in respect of any dividends;|
|●||In the event we are or become treated as a passive foreign investment company, U.S. holders of our ADSs could be subject to adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences.|
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
|●||If we are unable to obtain patent protection for our products, our business could suffer;|
|●||We have license rights of certain patents and cannot adequately estimate the effects of their expiration;|
|●||We may be subject to claims alleging patent infringement and may incur substantial costs;|
|●||Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various requirements;|
|●||Certain of our employees and patents are subject to German law;|
|●||If we fail to comply with our obligations under our intellectual property-related agreements, we could lose rights that are important to our business;|
|●||Certain technologies and patents have been developed with partners and we may face restrictions thereon.|
SERVICE OF PROCESS AND ENFORCEMENT OF CIVIL LIABILITIES
voxeljet AG is a German stock corporation (Aktiengesellschaft or AG), and its registered offices and most of its assets are located outside of the United States. In addition, most of the members of our Management Board, our Supervisory Board, and our senior management are residents of Germany and jurisdictions other than the United States. As a result, it may not be possible for you to effect service of process within the United States upon these individuals or upon voxeljet AG or to enforce judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. securities laws against voxeljet AG in the United States. Awards of punitive damages in actions brought in the United States or elsewhere are generally not enforceable in Germany. In addition, actions brought in a German court against voxeljet AG or the members of its Management Board and Supervisory Board, and its senior management to enforce liabilities based on U.S. federal securities laws may be subject to certain restrictions; in particular, German courts generally do not award punitive damages. Litigation in Germany is also subject to rules of procedure that differ from the U.S. rules, including with respect to the taking and admissibility of evidence, the conduct of the proceedings and the allocation of costs. Proceedings in Germany would have to be conducted in the German language, and all documents submitted to the court would, in principle, have to be translated into German. For these reasons, it may be difficult for a U.S. investor to bring an original action in a German court predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us, the members of our Management Board, Supervisory Board and senior management. In addition, even if a judgment against our Company, the non-U.S. members of our Management Board, Supervisory Board or senior management based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws is obtained, a U.S. investor may not be able to enforce it in U.S. or German courts.
ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS
ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE
ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION
|A.||SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA|
B. CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS
C. REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We face risks related to health epidemics and other widespread outbreaks of contagious disease, such as COVID-19, which could significantly disrupt our operations and impact our operating results and/or cash flows.
We face various risks related to health epidemics, pandemics and similar outbreaks, including the global outbreak of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to disruption and volatility in the global economy and capital markets, which increases the cost of capital and adversely impacts access to capital.
Although beginning in the third quarter of 2021, we have seen increases in the revenues from our Systems and Services segments, which reflected a positive trend of recovery from the economic slow-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nevertheless, we have experienced and may continue to experience some delays in installation of 3D printers at customers’ facilities, which has and may lead to further postponed revenue recognition for those transactions. Pursuant to government closure orders, including reimpositions of travel restrictions and other closures, intended to contain or slow the spread and resurgence of COVID-19, we may be required to close certain of our facilities in the regions voxeljet operates that perform work that is deemed non-essential. One or more additional facilities could become subject to similar orders, which could further disrupt our operations if the work performed at such facilities cannot be conducted remotely, potentially necessitating the furloughing of some of our employees or a permanent reduction in our workforce.
Our sales, installation and service of 3D printing machines in China and other countries have been and may continue to be disrupted, and the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted our commercial efforts in other countries. If the COVID-19 crisis continues for a prolonged duration, we or our customers may be unable to perform fully on our contracts, which will likely result in increases in costs and reduction in revenue. These cost increases may not be fully recoverable or adequately covered by insurance. If we experience difficulty in generating sufficient cash flow to meet our obligations and sustain our operations, which could affect our ability to continue as a going concern, we may have difficulty accessing government and state aid.
We continue to work with our stakeholders (including customers, employees, suppliers and local communities) to address responsibly this global pandemic. The long-term effects of COVID-19 to the global economy and to us are difficult to assess or predict, and may include a further decline in the market prices of our ADSs, risks to employee
health and safety, risks for the deployment of our products and services (including by limiting our customer support, among others effects resulting from government measures) and reduced sales in geographic locations impacted. The prolonged restrictive measures put in place in order to control COVID-19 or other adverse public health development in any of our targeted markets have had and may have a material and adverse effect on our business operations, financial position, results of operations and/or cash flows. These uncertainties could affect our ability to continue as a going concern.
We have incurred losses to date and anticipate continuing to incur losses in the future, and there are uncertainties which could affect our ability to continue as a going concern.
Our consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2022 have been prepared on the basis that we will continue as a going concern, which contemplates the realization of assets and satisfaction of liabilities in the normal course of business. We have incurred significant losses since our IPO and we expect that we will continue to incur losses as we aim to successfully execute our business plan and will be dependent on additional public or private financings, collaborations or licensing arrangements with strategic partners, or additional credit lines or other debt financing sources to fund continuing operations.
We expect that we will continue to incur losses and negative cash flows from operations for at least the next 12 months following the issuance of the financial statements. As of December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of € 97.24 million and had cash and cash equivalents and short-term financial assets of total € 14.2 million. We have outstanding debt and significant contractual obligations related to leases and interest payments. As of December 31, 2022, our debt totaled € 0.2 million, of which € 0.1 million is classified as current.
We expect to incur additional costs and expenses related to the continued development and expansion of our business, including the maintenance of operation of our manufacturing facilities, contract manufacturing and research and development operations. There can be no assurance that we will ever achieve or sustain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis.
During 2021, in January, February and July, we successfully completed three registered direct offerings and sales (the “2021 Offerings”) of a total of 2,190,711 ADSs, which provided voxeljet with total gross proceeds of approximately USD 32 million (€ 26.6 million) before deducting fees and expenses. Those capital increases improved our liquidity as well as equity ratio significantly.
On October 13, 2022, we completed a registered direct offering and sale of a total of 1,279,070 ADSs, which provided voxeljet with total gross proceeds of approximately USD 4.4 million (€ 4.6 million) before deducting fees and expenses.
On October 31, 2022 we closed a sale and leaseback transaction (the “Sale-Leaseback”) regarding voxeljet AG’s properties located in Friedberg, Free State of Bavaria, Germany with IntReal International Real Estate Kapitalverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH (“IntReal”), which was initiated on August 11, 2022. Under this agreement, voxeljet was entitled to receive proceeds from the sale amounting to € 26.5 million and entered into a long-term lease contract. Simultaneously, on August 11, 2022, we initiated the full settlement of the Finance Contract entered into with the European Investment Bank (the “EIB”), dated November 9, 2017 (the “Finance Contract”) including the repayment of tranche A and B1 thereunder, including all interest for a fixed amount of € 22.0 million. In addition, we reached the early settlement of certain loans for which the sold properties were collateralized, which were granted by Sparkasse Schwaben-Bodensee, Germany (formerly Kreissparkasse Augsburg) (“Sparkasse”) with a settlement in August 2022 amounting to € 0.8 million and in October 2022 amounting to € 3.1 million.
The closing process of the transaction, which began through the initiation of the Sale-Leaseback at the notary on August 11, 2022, was finalized on October 31, 2022. The closing included the receipt of the proceeds from IntReal, the settlements with EIB and Sparkasse and the subsequent initial of the release process for land charges and commencement of the long-term lease contract on November 1, 2022. These steps further improved voxeljet’s liquidity and financial flexibility, and released the Company from all covenants in the Finance Contract, including a Minimum Cash/Cash Equivalents requirement (the “Minimum Cash Covenant”).
In December 2022, we privately placed 828,943 ADSs (the “Anzu Offering”), each representing one ordinary share, with the institutional investor Anzu Ventures II LLC (“Anzu”). The capital increase was registered on December 22, 2022 and the private placement was completed when we received the remaining portion of the related funds in January 2023. This capital increase provided us with gross proceeds of USD 1.8 million (€ 1.7 million) before deducting fees and expenses.
In January 2023, we issued a promissory note to Anzu (the “Anzu Note”) in a principal amount of USD 3.2 million (€ 3.0 million). The Anzu Note matures on January 3, 2028, and includes interest payable monthly at a rate of 3% per annum. In addition, the Anzu Note includes a voluntary prepayment right for voxeljet, and, in the case of fundamental changes including a change of control in voxeljet, a right by voxeljet to repay the Anzu Note and a right by Anzu to require that voxeljet repurchases the Anzu Note. The aforementioned rights are considered to be embedded derivatives that have to be bifurcated. A one-time interest payment equal to the above principal amount of USD 3.2 million (€ 3.0 million) is required to be paid upon maturity or at time of prepayment. The terms of the Anzu Note include certain covenants and events of default.
The capital increases described above improved our liquidity as well as equity ratio significantly, and the financing received through the Anzu Note had a positive impact on our cash reserves. In addition, the closing of the Sale-Leaseback in connection with the early settlement of certain loans released us from significant financial obligations, including the repayment of tranche A under the Finance Contract. Tranche A would have become due in December 2022 amounting to approximately € 14.6 million, as adjusted by the fair value of the performance participation interest. The early settlement further released us from all covenants in the Finance Contract, including the Minimum Cash Covenant.
In spite of this success, according to our current liquidity forecasts, we will require further funding in the second half of 2023 to maintain our operations. Therefore, management is taking steps to raise additional funds, including meetings with potential new and existing investors and banks, which may include debt and/or equity financing, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to raise further funds on terms favorable to the Company, if at all.
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine raises further risks and uncertainties. The heightened use of trade restrictions and sanctions, including tariffs or prohibitions on technology transfers to achieve diplomatic ends could impact our ability to conduct our business as planned. A spill-over of the conflict to neighboring countries, the European Union or NATO members could result in further adverse impacts on our business, including a drop in market demand, price increases for raw materials and energy or delays in the global supply chain.
These events and conditions described above raise material uncertainties that may cast significant doubt upon our ability to continue as a going concern. Despite the ongoing losses, reduced cash flow and cash facilities as well as with the existing financial obligations, we assume that we will continue as a going concern. However, the going concern is dependent upon us being successful in:
|-||achievement of budgeted sales; and|
|-||successful fund raising in form of equity and/or debt.|
These assumptions are included in our current liquidity forecasts and we believe that we have the ability to meet our financial obligations for at least the next 12 months from the authorization for issuance of these consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2022 by the Management Board on March 30, 2023 and therefore continue as a going concern.
Material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting have been identified, and if we fail to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations, meet our reporting obligations or prevent fraud.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. As of December 31, 2022, we did not maintain an effective control environment attributable to certain identified material weaknesses. We describe these material weaknesses in Item 15. Controls and Procedures. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the entity’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected and corrected on a timely basis.
Management has disclosed material weaknesses in each of its Forms 20-F over a period of ten years, from fiscal year 2013 through the current fiscal year 2022.
To remediate the material weaknesses, we will continue to develop and implement our remediation plan as described in “Item 15. Controls and Procedures”. Our remediation efforts are not yet complete. There can be no assurance as to when the remediation plan will be fully implemented or whether the remediation efforts will be successful.
Until our remediation plans are fully implemented, our management will continue to devote time and attention to these efforts. The existence of these or other material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting could require us to restate our financial statements, cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations, and cause shareholders to lose confidence in our reported financial information, all of which could materially and adversely affect our business and stock price.
We need to raise additional capital in the short term and in the foreseeable future in order to meet our growth strategy as well as to support the continuation of our operation and may be unable to do so on attractive terms, or at all.
We intend to continue to make investments to support the growth of our business and may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to implement our growth strategy, increase market share in our current markets or expand into other markets, or broaden our technology, intellectual property or service capabilities. Accordingly, we require additional investments of capital in the short term and in the foreseeable future, and our existing sources of cash and any funds generated from operations may not provide us with sufficient capital. For various reasons, including material uncertainties that cast significant doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, any noncompliance with existing or future lending arrangements, additional financing, including raising capital through government or other grant funding, or issuing equity, may not be available when needed, or may not be available on terms favorable to us. If we fail to obtain adequate capital on a timely basis or if capital cannot be obtained on terms satisfactory to us, we may not be able to achieve our planned rate of growth, which will adversely affect our results of operations.
Our revenues and operating results may fluctuate.
Our revenues and operating results may fluctuate from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year and are likely to continue to vary due to a number of factors, many of which are not within our control. A significant portion of our 3D printer orders are typically received during the second and fourth quarters of the fiscal year as a result of the timing of capital expenditures of our customers. Our 3D printers typically are shipped between three and nine months after an order is received. Thus, revenues and operating results for any future period are not predictable with any significant degree of certainty. We also typically experience weaker demand for our 3D printers in the first and third quarters. For these reasons, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. Until our business grows more significantly, the timing of individual printer sales, because of the cost of our largest printers, can have meaningful effects on our quarterly results. You should not rely on our past results as an indication of our future performance. Please also refer to the risk factor “We face risks related to health epidemics and other widespread outbreaks of contagious disease, such as COVID-19, which could significantly disrupt our operations and impact our operating results and/or cash flows.”.
Fluctuations in our operating results and financial condition may occur due to a number of factors, including, but not limited to, those listed below and those identified throughout this annual report:
|●||the degree of market acceptance of our products;|
|●||the mix of machines and products that we sell during any period;|
|●||our long sales cycle including our ability to adapt production to demand;|
|●||the entry of new competitors into our market;|
|●||generally weaker demand for 3D printers in the first and third quarters;|
|●||development of new competitive systems or processes by others;|
|●||changes in our pricing policies or those of our competitors, including our responses to price competition, impacting our ability to realize work in progress at expected gross margins;|
|●||delays between our expenditures to develop and market new or enhanced 3D printers and products and the generation of sales from those products;|
|●||changes in the amount we spend in our marketing and other efforts;|
|●||delays between our expenditures to develop, acquire or license new technologies and processes, and the generation of sales related thereto;|
|●||changes in the cost of satisfying our warranty obligations and servicing our installed base of products;|
|●||our level of research and development activities and their associated costs and rates of success;|
|●||changes in the size and complexity of our organization, including our operations outside of Europe;|
|●||increased expenses in connection with improving our internal control system over financial reporting;|
|●||interruptions to or other problems with our website and interactive user interface, information technology systems, manufacturing processes or other operations;|
|●||general economic and industry conditions that affect end-user demand and end-user levels of product design and manufacturing;|
|●||changes in accounting rules and tax laws; and|
|●||changes in interest rates and currency exchange rates that affect returns on our cash balances and short-term investments.|
Our margins and EBIT may fluctuate.
Margins and EBIT in both our Systems and Services segments may fluctuate from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year and are likely to continue to vary due to a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, increased competition and increased expenses. To pursue our growth strategy, we have expanded by establishing operations in different countries. While the subsidiary in China is in the start-up phase, we may not be able to achieve our desired gross margin and EBIT targets for this subsidiary, which may lead to a weaker margin and EBIT contribution from this subsidiary to us. At our German operation, gross margin and EBIT could also fluctuate significantly, for instance due to changes in demand and other economic factors.
We may not be able to manage the expansion of our operations effectively in order to achieve our projected levels of growth.
We have expanded our operations significantly in recent periods, including our German, U.S. and Chinese operations, and our business plan calls for further expansion over the next several years, including Asia and North America. Our expansion in Asia is proceeding through our subsidiaries in India and China. The legal, market and cultural environment in both India and China represent challenges for our management. We anticipate that further development of our infrastructure and an increase in the number of our employees will be required to achieve our planned broadening of our product offerings and client base, improvements in our 3D printers and materials used in our 3D printers, and our planned international growth. In particular, we must increase our marketing and services staff to support new marketing and service activities and to meet the needs of both new and existing customers. Our ability to successfully increase our marketing efforts is not guaranteed, and if we are not able to successfully increase our
marketing efforts, we may not be able to grow our business as intended. Our future success will depend in part upon the ability of our management to manage our growth effectively. If our management is unsuccessful in meeting these challenges, we may not be able to achieve our anticipated level of growth, which would adversely affect our results of operations.
Our operations could suffer if we are unable to attract and retain key management or other skilled employees.
Our success depends upon the continued service and performance of our senior management and other key personnel. Our senior management team is critical to the management of our business and operations, as well as to the development of our strategy. The loss of the services of any members of our senior management team could delay or prevent the successful implementation of our growth strategy, or the commercialization of new applications for our 3D printers or other products, or could otherwise adversely affect our ability to manage our Company effectively and carry out our business plan. Members of our senior management team may resign at any time. High demand exists for senior management and other key personnel in the additive manufacturing industry, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to retain such personnel. We do not carry key-man insurance on any member of our senior management team.
Our growth and success will also depend on our ability to attract, retain and train additional highly-qualified scientific, technical, sales, managerial and finance personnel, including qualified personnel with experience and knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”). We have experienced and expect to continue to experience intense competition for qualified personnel. While we intend to continue to provide competitive compensation packages to attract and retain key personnel, some of our competitors for these employees have greater resources and more experience, making it difficult for us to compete successfully for key personnel. Engineering personnel and other employees in the technology industry are increasingly able to work remotely, which in turn increases employee mobility and our risk of unwanted employee attrition. If we cannot attract and retain sufficiently qualified technical employees for our research and development and manufacturing operations, we may be unable to develop and commercialize new products or new applications for existing products. Furthermore, possible shortages of skilled personnel, including engineers, in the regions surrounding our European facilities as well as our facilities in the U.S., China and India could require us to pay more to hire and retain skilled personnel, thereby increasing our costs.
A loss of a significant number of our sales agents would impair our ability to sell our products and services and could reduce our revenues and adversely impact our operating results.
We expect a significant portion of our sales of our products to be made with the assistance of our network of sales agents. We rely heavily on these sales agents to facilitate sales of our products to end-users in their respective geographic regions. Furthermore, we rely on sales agents to service our products. These sales agents are generally not precluded from selling our competitors’ products in addition to ours. In addition, they may not be effective in selling our products or servicing our end-users. Further, if a significant number of these sales agents were to terminate their relationships with us or otherwise fail or refuse to facilitate sales of our products, we may not be able to find replacements that are as qualified or as successful. If these sales agents do not perform as anticipated or if we are unable to find qualified and successful replacements, our sales will suffer, which would have a material adverse effect on our revenues and operating results.
We face significant competition in many aspects of our business, which could cause our revenues and gross profit margins to decline. Competition could also cause us to reduce sales prices or to incur additional marketing or production costs, which could result in decreased revenue, increased costs and reduced margins.
We compete for customers with a wide variety of producers of equipment for models, prototypes, other 3D objects and end-use parts as well as producers of print materials and services for this equipment. Some of our existing and potential competitors are researching, designing, developing and marketing other types of competitive equipment, print materials and services. Many of these competitors have financial, marketing, manufacturing, distribution and other resources that are substantially greater than ours.
We also expect that future competition may arise from the development of allied or related techniques for equipment and print materials that are not encompassed by our patents, from the issuance of patents to other companies that may inhibit our ability to develop certain products, from our entry into new geographic markets and industries and from improvements to existing print materials and equipment technologies. In addition, a number of companies have announced beginning production of 3D printers, which will further enhance the competition we face.
We intend to continue to follow a strategy of continuing product development to enhance our position to the extent practicable. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain our current position in the field or continue to compete successfully against current and future sources of competition. If we do not keep pace with technological change and introduce new products, our revenues and demand for our products may decrease.
If we are not able to convert our work in progress into sales, it could lead to an undesirable increase of inventory and consequently to an allowance for slow-moving inventory.
Our operations outside of Germany subject us to various risks, and our failure to manage these risks could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our business is subject to certain risks associated with doing business globally. Our sales outside of Germany represented 80%, 83%, and 78% of our total sales in 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively. We currently have subsidiaries in China, India and the United States. The liquidation of voxeljet UK, our UK subsidiary, was finalized on February 17, 2022. One of our growth strategies is to further pursue opportunities for our business in several areas around the world, both inside and outside of Germany and Europe, any or all of which could be adversely affected by the risks set forth below. Accordingly, we face significant operational risks as a result of doing business internationally, such as:
|●||fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;|
|●||potentially longer sales and payment cycles;|
|●||potentially greater difficulties in collecting accounts receivable;|
|●||potentially adverse tax consequences;|
|●||challenges in providing solutions across a significant distance, in different languages and among different cultures;|
|●||different, complex and changing laws governing intellectual property rights, sometimes affording reduced protection of intellectual property rights in certain countries;|
|●||difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations, particularly in new geographic locations;|
|●||restrictions imposed by local labor practices and laws on our business and operations;|
|●||rapid changes in government, economic and political policies and conditions, political or civil unrest or instability, war or terrorism, climate change, epidemics or pandemics like COVID-19 and other similar outbreaks or events;|
|●||operating in countries with a higher incidence of corruption and fraudulent business practices;|
|●||seasonal reductions in business activity in certain parts of the world, particularly during the summer months in Europe;|
|●||costs and difficulties of customizing products for foreign countries;|
|●||compliance with a wide variety of complex foreign laws, treaties and regulations;|
|●||tariffs, trade barriers and other regulatory or contractual limitations on our ability to sell or develop our products in certain foreign markets; and|
|●||becoming subject to the laws, regulations and court systems of multiple jurisdictions.|
Our failure to manage the market and operational risks associated with our international operations effectively could limit the future growth of our business and adversely affect our results of operations.
Our international operations pose currency risks, which may adversely affect our operating results and net income.
Our operating results may be affected by volatility in currency exchange rates and our ability to effectively manage our currency transaction risks. Currency exchange rate fluctuations have had an impact on our results because voxeljet AG provided intercompany loans to its subsidiaries in foreign currency. As we realize our strategy to expand internationally, our exposure to currency risks will increase. We do not manage our foreign currency exposure in a manner that would eliminate the effects of changes in foreign exchange rates. Therefore, changes in exchange rates between these foreign currencies and the Euro will affect our revenues, cost of goods sold, and operating margins, and could result in exchange losses in any given reporting period.
We incur currency transaction risks whenever we enter into either a purchase or a sale transaction using a different currency from the currency in which we report revenues. In such cases we may suffer an exchange loss because we do not currently engage in currency swaps or other currency hedging strategies to address this risk.
Given the volatility of exchange rates, we can give no assurance that we will be able to effectively manage our currency transaction risks or that any volatility in currency exchange rates will not have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
We may engage in future acquisitions that could disrupt our business, cause dilution to our shareholders and harm our financial condition and operating results.
While we currently have no specific plans to acquire any other businesses, we may, in the future, engage in joint ventures with or make acquisitions of, or investments in, companies that we believe have products or capabilities that are a strategic or commercial fit with our current business or otherwise offer opportunities for our Company. In connection with these acquisitions or investments, we may:
|●||issue ADSs or other forms of equity that would dilute our existing shareholders’ percentage of ownership;|
|●||incur debt and assume liabilities; and|
|●||incur amortization expenses related to intangible assets or incur large and immediate write-offs.|
We may not be able to complete future acquisitions on favorable terms, if at all. If we do complete an additional acquisition, we cannot assure you that it will ultimately strengthen our competitive position or that it will be viewed positively by customers, financial markets or investors. Furthermore, future acquisitions could pose numerous additional risks to our operations, including:
|●||problems integrating the purchased business, products or technologies;|
|●||challenges in achieving strategic objectives, cost savings and other anticipated benefits;|
|●||increases to our expenses;|
|●||the assumption of significant liabilities that exceed the limitations of any applicable indemnification provisions or the financial resources of any indemnifying party;|
|●||inability to maintain relationships with key customers, vendors and other business partners of the acquired businesses;|
|●||diversion of management’s attention from their day-to-day responsibilities;|
|●||difficulty in maintaining controls, procedures and policies during the transition and integration;|
|●||entrance into marketplaces where we have no or limited prior experience and where competitors have stronger marketplace positions; and|
|●||potential loss of key employees, particularly those of the acquired entity.|
Global economic, political and social conditions have adversely impacted our sales and may continue to do so.
The recent declines in the global economy, difficulties in the financial services sector and credit markets, continuing geopolitical uncertainties and other macroeconomic factors all affect spending behavior of potential end-users of our products. The economic uncertainty in Europe, the United States, India, China and other countries may cause end-users to further delay or reduce technology purchases. In particular, a substantial portion of our sales are made to customers in countries in Europe, which is experiencing an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In addition, heightened use of trade restrictions and sanctions, including tariffs or prohibitions on technology transfers to achieve diplomatic ends could impact our ability to conduct our business as planned.
In addition, the UK ceased to be a member state of the EU on January 31, 2020 commonly referred to as “Brexit,” and the transition period provided for in the withdrawal agreement entered by the UK and the EU ended on December 31, 2020. In December 2020, the UK and the EU agreed on a trade and cooperation agreement, which became effective in May 2021. Notably, under the trade and cooperation agreement, UK service suppliers no longer benefit from automatic access to the entire EU single market, UK goods no longer benefit from the free movement of goods and there is no longer the free movement of people between the UK and the EU. The lack of clarity about future UK laws and regulations creates uncertainty for us, as the application of the trade and cooperation agreement may affect our business and operations. For example, the imposition of tariffs following Brexit may have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations. Additionally, there also is a risk that other countries may decide to leave the EU. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit not only potentially affects our business in the UK and the EU, but may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In extreme cases, we could experience interruptions in production due to the processing of customs formalities or reduced customer spending in the wake of weaker economic performance. If global economic conditions remain volatile for a prolonged period or if European economies experience further disruptions, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
Failure to comply with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other applicable anti-corruption legislation could result in fines, criminal penalties and an adverse effect on our business.
We operate in a number of countries throughout the world, including countries known to have a reputation for corruption. We are committed to doing business in accordance with applicable anti-corruption laws. We are subject, however, to the risk that our officers, directors, employees, agents and collaborators may take action determined to be in violation of such anti-corruption laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, the UK Bribery Act 2010 and the European Union Anti-Corruption Act, as well as trade sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Any such violation could result in substantial fines, sanctions, civil and/or criminal penalties or curtailment of operations in certain jurisdictions, and might adversely affect our results of operations. In addition, actual or alleged violations could damage our reputation and ability to do business.
Workplace accidents or environmental damage could result in substantial remedial obligations and damage to our reputation.
Accidents or other incidents that occur at our facilities or involve our personnel or operations could result in claims for damages against us. In addition, in the event we are found to be financially responsible, as a result of environmental or other laws or by court order, for environmental damages alleged to have been caused by us or occurring on our premises, we could be required to pay substantial monetary damages or undertake expensive remedial obligations. The amount of any costs, including fines or damages payments that we may incur under such circumstances could substantially exceed any insurance we have to cover such losses. Any of these events, alone or in combination, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and could adversely affect our reputation.
Our operations are subject to environmental laws and other government regulations which could result in liabilities in the future.
We are subject to domestic and foreign environmental laws and regulations governing our operations, including, but not limited to, emissions into the air and water and the use, handling, disposal and remediation of hazardous substances. A certain risk of environmental liability is inherent in our production activities. Under certain environmental laws, we could be held solely or jointly and severally responsible, regardless of fault, for the remediation of any hazardous substance contamination at our facilities and at facilities where our products are used and the respective consequences arising out of human exposure to such substances or other environmental damage. We may not have been and may not be at all times in complete compliance with environmental laws, regulations and permits, and the nature of our operations exposes us to the risk of liabilities or claims with respect to environmental and worker health and safety matters. If we violate or fail to comply with environmental laws, regulations and permits, we could be subject to penalties, fines, restrictions on operations or other sanctions, and our operations could be interrupted.
The cost of complying with current and future environmental, health and safety laws applicable to our operations, or the liabilities arising from past releases of, or exposure to, hazardous substances, may result in future expenditures. Any of these developments, alone or in combination, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Climate change may have an impact on our business.
Risks related to climate change are increasing in both impact and type of risk. We believe there will not be significant near-term impacts to our offices worldwide due to climate change, but long-term impacts remain unknown. However, there may be business operational risk due to the significant impacts climate change could pose to our employees’ lives, our supply chain, or electrical power availability from climate-related weather events. In addition, rapidly changing customer and regulatory requirements to reduce carbon emissions present a risk of loss of business if we are not able to meet those requirements.
We may not have adequate insurance for potential liabilities, including liabilities arising from litigation.
In the ordinary course of business, we have been, and in the future may be, subject to various product and non-product related claims, lawsuits and administrative proceedings seeking damages or other remedies arising out of our commercial operations, including litigation related to defects in our products. We maintain insurance to cover our potential exposure for most claims and losses. However, our insurance coverage is subject to various exclusions, self-retentions and deductibles, may be inadequate or unavailable to protect us fully, and may be cancelled or otherwise terminated by the insurer. Furthermore, we face the following additional risks related to our insurance coverage:
|●||we may not be able to continue to obtain insurance coverage on commercially reasonable terms, or at all;|
|●||we may be faced with types of liabilities that are not covered under our insurance policies, such as environmental contamination or terrorist attacks, and that exceed any amounts that we may have reserved for such liabilities;|
|●||the amount of any liabilities that we may face may exceed our policy limits; and|
|●||we may incur losses resulting from the interruption of our business that may not be fully covered under our insurance policies.|
Even a partially uninsured claim of significant size, if successful, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity. However, even if we successfully defend ourselves against any such claim, we could be forced to spend a substantial amount of money in litigation expenses, our management could be required to spend valuable time defending these claims and our reputation could suffer, any of which could adversely affect our results of operations.
We may have exposure to greater than anticipated tax liabilities which could adversely affect our operating results.
Our future income taxes could be adversely affected by changes in tax laws, regulations, accounting principles or interpretations thereof, in jurisdictions around the world. In addition, there is a risk that amounts paid or received in transactions between us and one of our international subsidiaries could be deemed for transfer pricing purposes to be lower or higher than we previously recognized or expected to recognize, or that distributions to us from one of our international subsidiaries could be subject to withholding tax. Our determination of our tax liability is always subject to review by applicable tax authorities. Any negative outcome of such a review could have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition. In addition, the determination of our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities requires significant judgment, and there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Although we believe our estimates are reasonable, the ultimate tax outcome may differ from the amounts recorded in our financial statements and could adversely affect our operating results.
Risks Related to Our Products
We may not be able to introduce new 3D printers and related print materials acceptable to the market or to improve the technology and print materials used in our current 3D printers to meet customer demands.
Our revenues are derived from the sale of new or used and refurbished 3D printers and from the sale of products manufactured using, additive manufacturing. Our market is subject to innovation and technological change. A variety of technologies compete against one another in our market, which is, in part, driven by technological advances and end-user requirements and preferences, as well as the emergence of new standards and practices. Our ability to compete in the industrial additive manufacturing market depends, in large part, on our success in enhancing and developing new 3D printers, enhancing and adding to our technology and developing and qualifying new materials in which we can print. In 2019, we developed the VX1300 X, which is characterized by a very fast layer time. Meanwhile we installed five units at a German premium car maker. In 2021, we received the acceptance from the main contractor for two units, which were installed in 2019; in 2022, we received the acceptance for the remaining three units. The development of the VX1000 HSS which will upscale the HSS technology to one of our larger scale platforms proceeded in 2021. Currently we are working on two VX1000 HSS Beta units which are expected to be ready for installation in 2023. With these recent developments, the HSS technology is made available on the VX200 HSS and the new VX1000 HSS system. We believe that to remain competitive we must continuously enhance and expand the functionality and features of our products and technologies. However, we may not be able to:
|●||enhance our existing products and technologies;|
|●||continue to leverage advances in industrial printhead technology;|
|●||develop new products and technologies that address the increasingly sophisticated and varied needs of prospective end-users, particularly with respect to the physical properties of print materials and other consumables;|
|●||respond to technological advances and emerging industry standards and practices on a cost-effective and timely basis;|
|●||develop products that are cost effective or that otherwise gain market acceptance;|
|●||adequately protect our intellectual property as we develop new products and technologies; or|
|●||ensure the availability of cash resources to fund research and development.|
Even if we successfully enhance our existing 3D printers or create new 3D printers, it is likely that new 3D printers and technologies that we develop will eventually supplant our existing 3D printers or that our competitors will create 3D printers that will replace our 3D printers. As a result, any of our products may be rendered obsolete or uneconomical by our or others’ technological advances.
The long sales cycle for our products makes the timing of our revenues difficult to predict.
Generally, our 3D printers have a long sales cycle. Because our 3D printers are complex and typically involve significant capital investments by prospective purchasers, we and our sales agents generally need to invest a significant amount of time educating prospective purchasers about the benefits of our products. As a result, before purchasing our products, potential purchasers may spend a substantial amount of time performing internal assessments before making a purchase. This may cause us to devote significant effort in advance of a potential sale without any guarantee of receiving any related revenues. Delays in sales could cause significant variability in our revenues and operating results for any particular period. In addition to that, delays in sales could lead to an increase in work in progress resulting in an allowance for slow-moving inventories.
Declines in the prices of our products and services, or in our volume of sales, together with our relatively inflexible cost structure, may adversely affect our financial results.
Our business is subject to price competition. Such price competition may adversely affect our ability to maintain the same degree of profitability, especially during periods of decreased demand. Decreased demand also adversely impacts the volume of our systems sales. If our business is not able to offset price reductions resulting from these pressures, or decreased volume of sales due to contractions in the market, by improved operating efficiencies and reduced expenditures, then our operating results will be adversely affected.
Certain of our operating costs are fixed and cannot readily be reduced, which diminishes the positive impact of our restructuring programs on our operating results. To the extent the market for our products slows, or the 3D printing market contracts, we may be faced with excess manufacturing capacity and excess related costs that cannot readily be reduced, which will adversely impact our results of operations.
Demand for our products may not increase adequately.
The marketplace for industrial manufacturing is dominated by conventional manufacturing methods that do not involve additive manufacturing technology. We may not be able to develop effective strategies to raise awareness among potential customers of the benefits of our additive manufacturing technology. If additive manufacturing technology does not gain market acceptance as an alternative for industrial manufacturing, or if the marketplace adopts additive manufacturing based on a technology other than our technology, we may not be able to increase or sustain the level of sales of our products and machines and our results of operations would be adversely affected as a result. If we are not able to manage the conversion from work in progress to sales, it could lead to an undesirable increase of inventory resulting in allowance for slow-moving inventory.
We may not be able to significantly increase the number of materials for use in our 3D printers quickly enough to meet our business plan, and, if we are successful, we may attract more competitors into our markets, some of which may be much larger than we are. Furthermore, we may not be able to develop our 3D printers to serve in a mass production environment.
Our business plan is dependent in part upon our ability to steadily increase the number of qualified materials in which our 3D printers can print, since this will increase our addressable market. However, qualifying new materials is a complicated engineering task, and there is no way to predict whether, or when, any given material will be qualified. If we cannot hire a sufficient number of skilled people to work on qualifying new materials for printing or if we lack the resources necessary to create a steady flow of new materials, we will not be able to meet our business goals and a competitor may emerge that is better at qualifying new materials, either of which would have an adverse effect on our business results.
If, however, we succeed in qualifying a growing number of materials for use in our 3D printers as well as developing our 3D printers to serve in a mass production environment, that should increase our addressable market, both as to customers and products for customers. However, as we create a larger addressable market, our market may become more attractive to other 3D printing companies or large companies that are not 3D printing companies but which may see an economic opportunity in the markets we have created. Similarly, if our focus on selling large 3D printers and 3D printed products to industrial companies proves successful, an increase in the number of competitors in that particular market is likely to adversely affect our business and financial results.
Customers may decide to order parts rather than to purchase new or used and refurbished 3D printers. This may result in a significant loss of revenues in the Systems segment.
Our Systems segment revenues largely depend on our ability to sell new or used and refurbished 3D printers to customers. There may be various reasons why customers may choose to order parts from us rather than to purchase the full 3D printer equipment, such as increased convenience, lower maintenance costs, etc. If there is an increasing trend for our customers to place parts orders in lieu of equipment purchase orders and we are unable to reverse that trend, we may experience significant losses in revenues in the Systems segment, which in turn could adversely affect our business and financial results.
Defects in new products or in enhancements to our existing products that give rise to product returns or warranty or other claims could result in material expenses, diversion of management time and attention, and damage to our reputation.
Our 3D printing systems may contain undetected defects or errors when first introduced or as enhancements are released that, despite testing, are not discovered until after a system has been used. This could result in delayed market acceptance of those systems or claims from sales agents, end-users or others, which may result in litigation, increased end-user service and support costs and warranty claims, damage to our reputation and business, or significant costs to correct the defect or error. We may from time to time become subject to warranty or product liability claims related to product quality issues that could lead us to incur significant expenses.
We could face liability if our 3D printers are used by our customers to print dangerous objects.
Customers may use our 3D printers to print parts that could be used in a harmful way or could otherwise be dangerous. For example, there have been news reports that 3D printers were used to print guns or other weapons. We have little, if any, control over what objects our customers print using our 3D printers, and it may be difficult, if not impossible, for us to monitor and prevent customers from printing weapons with our 3D printers. While we have never printed weapons in any of our service centers, there can be no assurance that we will not be held liable if someone were injured or killed by a weapon printed by a customer using one of our 3D printers.
If our manufacturing facility or any of our on-demand parts service centers are disrupted, sales of our products may be affected, which could result in loss of revenues and unforeseen costs.
We manufacture our machines at our facilities in Germany and China. We currently operate on-demand parts service centers located in Germany, the United States, and China and plan to operate in other locations in the future. If the operations of our production facilities are materially disrupted, whether by natural disasters, climate change, epidemics or pandemics like COVID-19, demonstrations, acts of terror, or otherwise, we would be unable to fulfill customer orders for the period of the disruption, we would not be able to recognize revenues on orders, we could suffer damage to our reputation, and we may need to modify our standard sales terms to secure the commitment of new customers during the period of the disruption and perhaps longer. Depending on the cause of the disruption, we could incur significant costs to remedy the disruption and resume product shipments. Such a disruption could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
Risks Related to Information Technology and Information Security
We rely on our information technology systems to manage numerous aspects of our business and customer and supplier relationships, and a disruption of these systems could adversely affect our results of operations.
We rely on our information technology, or IT, systems to manage numerous aspects of our business and provide analytical information to management. Our IT systems allow us to efficiently purchase products from our suppliers, provide procurement and logistic services, ship products to our customers on a timely basis, maintain cost-effective operations and provide service to our customers. Our IT systems are an essential component of our business and growth strategies, and a disruption to our IT systems could significantly limit our ability to manage and operate our business efficiently. In 2022, we had effective general information technology general controls (GITCs) over our Enterprise Resource Planning system that supports the Company’s financial reporting processes. We are required to further automate our processes and reduce the dependence on manual controls. In late 2020, we set up a partially automated consolidation process in the test environment of our existing Enterprise Resource Planning system, which went live in
the first quarter of 2021. Although we assume this will not be the case, we could fail with the technical realization of further automating our processes. In addition, our computer systems are subject to damage and interruption from power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, cyber-attack or other security breaches, catastrophic events such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, acts of war or terrorism, and usage errors by our employees. External events, like the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, can increase the likelihood of attacks. If our computer systems are damaged or cease to function properly, or, if we do not replace or upgrade certain systems, we may incur substantial costs to repair or replace them and may experience an interruption of our normal business activities or loss of critical data. Any such disruption could adversely affect our reputation, brand and financial condition.
Regulation in the areas of privacy, data protection and information security could increase our costs and affect or limit our business opportunities and how we collect and/or use personal information.
As privacy, data protection and information security laws, including data localization laws, are interpreted and applied, compliance costs may increase, particularly in the context of ensuring that adequate data protection and data transfer mechanisms are in place. In recent years, there has been increasing regulatory enforcement and litigation activity in the areas of privacy, data protection and information security in the U.S., Germany, and in various other countries in which we operate.
In addition, state and federal legislators and/or regulators in the U.S., Germany, and other countries in which we operate are increasingly adopting or revising privacy, data protection and information security laws that potentially could have significant impact on our current and planned privacy, data protection and information security-related practices, our collection, use, sharing, retention and safeguarding of consumer and/or employee information, and some of our current or planned business activities. New legislation or regulation could increase our costs of compliance and business operations and could reduce revenues from certain business initiatives. Moreover, the application of existing or new laws to existing technology and practices can be uncertain and may lead to additional compliance risk and cost.
Our European activities are subject to the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which has created additional compliance requirements for us. GDPR broadens the scope of personal privacy laws to protect the rights of EU citizens and requires organizations to report on data breaches within 72 hours and be bound by stringent rules for obtaining the consent of individuals on how their data can be used. Non-compliance with GDPR exposes entities such as our company to significant fines or other regulatory claims.
Compliance with current or future privacy, data protection and information security laws relating to consumer and/or employee data could result in higher compliance and technology costs and could restrict our ability to provide certain products and services, which could materially and adversely affect our profitability. Our failure to comply with privacy, data protection and information security laws could result in potentially significant regulatory and/or governmental investigations and/or actions, litigation, fines, sanctions, ongoing regulatory monitoring, customer attrition, decreases in the use or acceptance of our products and services and damage to our reputation and our brand.
Risks Related to Our Dependence on Third Parties
We are highly dependent upon sales to certain industries.
Our revenues of machines and products are relatively concentrated in companies in the automotive, foundry, aerospace and art and architecture industries and those industries’ respective suppliers. To the extent any of these industries experiences a downturn and we are unable to penetrate and expand into other industries, our results of operations may be adversely affected. Additionally, if any of these industries or their respective suppliers or other providers of manufacturing services develop new technologies or alternatives to manufacture the products that are currently manufactured using our 3D printers, it may adversely affect our results of operations.
If our relationships with suppliers, especially with limited source suppliers of components of and consumables for our products, were to terminate or our manufacturing arrangements were to be disrupted, our business could be adversely affected.
We purchase components and certain sub-assemblies for our systems and consumables that are used in our print materials from third-party suppliers. While there are several potential suppliers of most of the components and sub-assemblies for our systems, and for most of the consumables for our print materials, we currently choose to use only a limited number of suppliers for several of these components and materials. Our reliance on a limited number of vendors involves a number of risks, including:
|●||potential shortages of some key components;|
|●||product performance shortfalls, if traceable to particular product components, since the supplier of the faulty component cannot readily be replaced;|
|●||discontinuation of a product on which we rely;|
|●||potential insolvency of these vendors; and|
|●||reduced control over delivery schedules, manufacturing capabilities, quality and costs.|
For example, since the first half of 2021, we have experienced price increases for energy, electronic equipment and raw materials such as metals, as well as longer supply chain lead times and delays. In addition, we require any new supplier to become “qualified” pursuant to our internal procedures. The qualification process involves evaluations of varying durations, which may cause production delays if we were required to qualify a new supplier unexpectedly. We generally assemble our systems based on our internal forecasts and the availability of consumables, assemblies, components and finished goods that are supplied to us by third parties, which are subject to various lead times. If certain suppliers were to decide to discontinue production of an assembly, component or consumable that we use, the unanticipated change in the availability of supplies, or unanticipated supply limitations, could cause delays in or loss of sales, increased production or related costs and, consequently, reduced margins, and damage to our reputation. If we are unable to find a suitable supplier for a particular component, consumable or compound, we could be required to modify our existing products to accommodate substitute components, consumables or compounds. In addition, because we use a limited number of suppliers, increases in the prices charged by our suppliers may have an adverse effect on our results of operations, as we may be unable to find a supplier who can supply us at a lower price. As a result, the loss of a limited source supplier could adversely affect our relationships with our customers and our results of operations and financial condition.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our ADSs
The price of our ADSs has fluctuated significantly and may continue to be volatile in the future, and as a result, investors in our ADSs could incur substantial losses.
The stock market generally, and the Nasdaq Capital Market in particular including our ADSs, has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of listed companies. These broad market and industry factors may seriously harm the market price of our ADSs, regardless of our operating performance. There can be no guarantee that the market price of our ADSs will remain at current prices.
Our ADSs may become the target of a “short squeeze.”
Securities of certain companies have increasingly experienced significant and extreme volatility in stock price due to short sellers of shares of common stock, known as a “short squeeze.” These short squeezes have caused extreme volatility in those companies and in the market and have led to the price per share of those companies to trade at a significantly inflated rate that is disconnected from the underlying value of the company. Many investors who have purchased shares in those companies at an inflated rate face the risk of losing a significant portion of their original investment as the price per share has declined steadily as interest in those stocks have abated. There can be no assurance that we will not, in the future be, a target of a short squeeze, and you may lose a significant portion or all of your investment if you purchase our shares at a rate that is significantly disconnected from our underlying value.
Substantial future sales of our ordinary shares or ADSs in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the price of the ADSs to decline.
Future sales of a substantial number of our shares or ADSs, or the perception that such sales will occur, could cause a decline in the market price of the ADSs. In October 2022, through a registered direct offering, we issued 1,279,070 new ordinary shares, equivalent to an equal number of ADSs. Further, pursuant to the Anzu Offering, in December 2022 we issued 828,943 new ordinary shares, equivalent to an equal number of ADSs.
To the extent that we raise additional funds through the issuance and sale of equity or other securities that are convertible into or exchangeable for, or that represent the right to receive, ordinary shares or substantially similar securities, the terms may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect shareholder rights and the existing shareholders’ ownership interests will be diluted if the statutory shareholders’ subscription right is not exercised by the shareholders or is excluded by the general shareholders’ meeting or the Management Board.
Under the German Stock Corporation Act, every shareholder is entitled to subscription rights for new ordinary shares to be issued or for other new securities that are convertible into or exchangeable for, or that represent the right to receive, ordinary shares or substantially similar securities.
However, our shareholders at the general shareholders’ meeting can resolve to exclude such statutory subscription rights with an affirmative vote of a majority of at least three-quarters of the share capital represented at the meeting. An exclusion of subscription rights also requires a report from the Management Board to the effect that the interests of our Company in excluding the subscription rights outweigh the interests of the shareholders to be entitled to a subscription. An exclusion of subscription rights may be permissible without such justification if our Company is increasing the capital in return for cash contributions, the amount of the capital increase does not exceed 10 percent of the existing share capital of our Company, and the issue price of the new shares is not significantly lower than the trading price for shares in our Company of the same class and having the same features already listed at the time of the final determination of the issue price. The trading price may also be determined by the market price of an ADS listed on the NASDAQ, multiplied by the number of ADSs which represent a share.
Shareholders at the general shareholders’ meeting may also authorize the Management Board to exclude the statutory shareholders’ subscription right for new ordinary shares to be issued or for other new securities that are convertible into or exchangeable for, or that represent the right to receive, ordinary shares or substantially similar securities.
The general shareholders’ meeting on June 2, 2022 resolved upon a new authorized share capital. This authorized share capital pursuant to Section 5 of the articles of association of our Company authorized the Management Board, with the consent of the Supervisory Board, to increase our Company's registered share capital in one or more tranches initially by up to an additional € 3,513,355 by issuing up to 3,513,355 new no-par value ordinary shares (equivalent to 3,513,355 ADSs) against contributions in cash and/or in kind until June 1, 2027. The Management Board is authorized to exclude the statutory shareholders’ subscription rights with the consent of the Supervisory Board (i) to exclude fractional amounts resulting from the subscription ratio from the statutory shareholders’ subscription right, (ii) in case of capital increases in kind, in particular, but without limitation, to acquire companies, divisions of companies or interests in companies, (iii) in case of capital increases in cash provided that the issue price of the new shares is not substantially lower than the trading price for shares in our Company of the same class and having the same conditions already listed at the time of the final determination of the issue price (the trading price shall also be understood to mean the price of an ADS listed on the NASDAQ multiplied by the number of ADSs representing one share) and further provided that the amount of the share capital represented by the shares issued in this context under the exclusion of the statutory shareholders’ subscription right does not exceed 10 percent of the share capital both at the time when such authorization came into effect and when it is utilized or (iv) in case of capital increases in cash if this is done for the purpose of issuing shares to be placed at the U.S. capital market or with institutional and/or private investors through ADSs and in this connection also to cover an over-allotment option granted to the issuing banks, to the extent that the total number of shares issued in accordance with this authorization to exclude subscription rights does not exceed 30% of the share capital and the issue price of the new shares is not substantially lower than the stock exchange price for shares in the Company of the same class and having the same conditions already listed at the time of the final determination of the issue price (the stock exchange price shall also be understood to mean the price of an ADS listed on the NASDAQ multiplied by the number of ADSs representing one share). Following the Anzu Offering, the authorized capital can still be utilized in an amount of up to 1,405,342 new shares
(equivalent to 1,405,342 ADSs). The authorization pursuant to (iv) above has been fully utilized following the Anzu Offering.
In addition, shareholders at the general shareholders’ meeting may from time to time cancel, amend or grant new authorizations to the Management Board to exclude the statutory shareholders’ subscription rights, also for capital increases in cash for the purpose of issuing shares that are to be placed on the U.S. capital market or with institutional investors from any jurisdiction by means of ADSs, and in the same context also to cover an over-allotment option granted to the issuing banks.
Our principal shareholders and management own a significant percentage of our ordinary shares and will be able to exert significant influence over matters subject to shareholder approval.
Members of our Management Board currently beneficially own 9.2% of our ordinary shares (including ordinary shares represented by ADSs). These shareholders have significant influence over the outcome of all matters requiring shareholder approval. For example, these shareholders may be able to influence the outcome of elections of members of our Supervisory Board, amendments of our organizational documents, or approval of any merger, sale of assets, or other major corporate transactions. This may prevent or discourage unsolicited acquisition proposals or offers for our ordinary shares or ADSs that you may feel are in your best interest as one of our shareholders. The interests of this group of shareholders may not always coincide with your interests or the interests of other shareholders, and they may act in a manner that advances their best interests and not necessarily those of other shareholders, including seeking a premium value for their ordinary shares, which might affect the prevailing market price for our ADSs.
Holders of our ADSs may not have the same voting rights as the holders of our ordinary shares and may not receive voting materials in time to be able to exercise your right to vote.
Except as described in this annual report and the deposit agreement relating to our ADSs, holders of the ADSs will not be able to exercise voting rights attaching to the ordinary shares evidenced by the ADSs on an individual basis. Under the terms of the deposit agreement, holders of the ADSs appoint the depositary or its nominee as their representative to exercise the voting rights attaching to the ordinary shares represented by the ADSs. You may not receive voting materials in time to instruct the depositary to vote, and it is possible that you, or persons who hold their ADSs through brokers, dealers or other third parties, will not have the opportunity to exercise a right to vote.
You may not receive distributions on our ordinary shares represented by the ADSs or any value for them.
Under the terms of the deposit agreement relating to our ADSs, the depositary for the ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends, if any, or other distributions it or the custodian receives on our ordinary shares or other deposited securities after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of our ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, in accordance with the limitations set forth in the deposit agreement, it may be unlawful or impractical to make a distribution available to holders of ADSs. In addition, with respect to distributions of rights to subscribe for additional ordinary shares or ADSs, such distributions will only be made if we request such rights be made available to holders of the ADSs. We have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of the ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of the ADSs. This means that you may not receive the distributions we make on our ordinary shares or any value from them. These restrictions may have a material adverse effect on the value of your ADSs.
We have no present intention to pay dividends on our ordinary shares in the foreseeable future and, consequently, your only opportunity to achieve a return on your investment during that time is if the price of our ADSs appreciates.
We have no present intention to pay dividends on our ordinary shares in the foreseeable future. Any recommendation by our Management and Supervisory Boards to pay dividends will depend on many factors, including our financial condition, results of operations, legal requirements and other factors. Accordingly, if the price of our ADSs declines in the foreseeable future, you will incur a loss on your investment, without the likelihood that this loss will be offset in part or at all by potential future cash dividends.
As a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from a number of rules under the U.S. securities laws and are permitted to file less information with the SEC than U.S. companies. This may limit the information available to holders of ADSs.
We are a “foreign private issuer,” as defined in the SEC rules and regulations, and, consequently, we are not subject to all of the disclosure requirements applicable to companies organized within the United States. For example, we are exempt from certain rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), that regulate disclosure obligations and procedural requirements related to the solicitation of proxies, consents or authorizations applicable to a security registered under the Exchange Act. In addition, members of our Management Board and Supervisory Board and our principal shareholders are exempt from the reporting and “short-swing” profit recovery provisions of Section 16 of the Exchange Act and related rules with respect to their purchases and sales of our securities. Moreover, we are not required to file periodic reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or as promptly as U.S. public companies. Accordingly, there may be less publicly-available information concerning our Company than there is for U.S. public companies.
As a foreign private issuer, we are required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the close of each year ended December 31 and furnish reports on Form 6-K relating to certain material events promptly after we publicly announce these events. In addition, under the NASDAQ Listing Rules, we must submit to the SEC a Form 6-K that includes interim earnings reports on a semi-annual basis. Although we intend to issue quarterly financial information, because of the above exemptions for foreign private issuers, we are not required to do so and may not provide quarterly information if we are not able to do so. Therefore, holders of our ADSs may not be afforded the same protections or information generally available to investors holding shares in public companies organized in the United States.
As a foreign private issuer, we are not subject to certain NASDAQ corporate governance rules applicable to U.S. listed companies.
We rely on provisions in the NASDAQ Listing Rules that permit us to follow our home country corporate governance practices with regard to certain aspects of corporate governance. This allows us to follow German corporate law and the German Corporate Governance Code, which differ in significant respects from the corporate governance requirements applicable to U.S. companies listed on the NASDAQ.
In accordance with our NASDAQ listing, our Audit Committee is required to comply with or satisfy an exemption from the provisions of Section 301 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Rule 10A-3 of the Exchange Act, both of which are also applicable to listed U.S. companies. Because we are a foreign private issuer, however, we generally are permitted to follow home country practice in lieu of the corporate governance standards provided in the NASDAQ Listing Rules. In particular, we are not required to comply with the requirements that the members of our Audit Committee satisfy financial literacy standards, that a majority of the members of our Supervisory Board and all members of our Audit Committee and Compensation and Nomination Committee must be independent, and that our Audit Committee and Compensation and Nomination Committee adopt written charters. In addition, we are not required to comply with requirements for a specific quorum or executive sessions. If some investors find the ADSs less attractive as a result of these differences, there may be a less active trading market for the ADSs and the price of the ADSs may be more volatile. See “Item 16.G Corporate Governance.”
We may lose our foreign private issuer status in the future, which could result in significant additional costs and expenses.
As a foreign private issuer, we are not required to comply with all the periodic disclosure and current reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and related rules and regulations. The determination of foreign private issuer status is made annually on the last business day of an issuer’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter. Accordingly, we will next make a determination with respect to our foreign private issuer status on June 30, 2023. There is a risk that we will lose our foreign private issuer status in the future.
We would lose our foreign private issuer status if, for example, more than 50% of our assets are located in the United States and we continue to fail to meet additional requirements necessary to maintain our foreign private issuer status. As of December 31, 2022, approximately 13% of our assets were located in the United States, although this may increase as we expand our operations in the United States. The regulatory and compliance costs to us under U.S. securities laws as a U.S. domestic issuer may be significantly greater than the costs we incur as a foreign private issuer.
If we are not a foreign private issuer, we will be required to file periodic reports and registration statements on U.S. domestic issuer forms with the SEC, which are more detailed and extensive in certain respects than the forms available to a foreign private issuer. We would be required under current SEC rules to prepare our financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP and modify certain of our policies to comply with corporate governance practices associated with U.S. domestic issuers. Such conversion and modifications would involve additional costs. In addition, we may lose our ability to rely upon exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements of the NASDAQ Listing Rules that are available to foreign private issuers such as the ones described above and exemptions from procedural requirements related to the solicitation of proxies.
We incur significant increased costs as a result of operating as a company whose ADSs are publicly traded in the United States, and our management is required to devote substantial time to new compliance initiatives.
As a company whose ADSs commenced trading in the United States in October 2013, we incur significant legal, accounting, insurance and other expenses that we did not incur before going public. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and related rules implemented by the SEC and the NASDAQ have imposed various requirements on public companies, including requiring establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls. Our management and other personnel must devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives. Moreover, these rules and regulations increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, these rules and regulations have made it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to incur substantial costs to maintain the same or similar coverage. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult and expensive for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our Supervisory Board or its committees or on our Management Board. Furthermore, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to delisting of the ADSs, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action and potentially civil litigation.
U.S. investors may have difficulty enforcing civil liabilities against our Company or members of our Management and Supervisory Boards.
The members of our Management and Supervisory Boards are non-residents of the United States, and all or a substantial portion of the assets of such persons are located outside the United States. As a result, it may not be possible, or may be very difficult, to serve process on such persons or us in the United States or to enforce judgments obtained in U.S. courts against them or us based on civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States. In addition, awards of punitive damages in actions brought in the United States or elsewhere may be unenforceable in Germany. An award for monetary damages under the U.S. securities laws would be considered punitive if it does not seek to compensate the claimant for loss or damage suffered and is intended to punish the defendant. The enforceability of any judgment in Germany will depend on the particular facts of the case as well as the laws and treaties in effect at the time. Litigation in Germany is also subject to rules of procedure that differ from the U.S. rules, including with respect to the taking and admissibility of evidence, the conduct of the proceedings and the allocation of costs. Proceedings in Germany would have to be conducted in the German language, and all documents submitted to the court would, in principle, have to be translated into German. For these reasons, it may be difficult for a U.S. investor to bring an original action in a German court predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and the members of our Management and Supervisory Boards. The United States and Germany do not currently have a treaty providing for recognition and enforcement of judgments (other than arbitration awards) in civil and commercial matters, though recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Germany is possible in accordance with applicable German laws.
You may be subject to limitations on the transfer of your ADSs.
Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems doing so expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks that it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit
agreement, or for any other reason in accordance with the terms of the deposit agreement. As a result, you may be unable to transfer your ADSs when you wish to.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they or anyone else gives negative recommendations regarding our ADSs, the market price for our ADSs and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our ADSs will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade our ADSs, the market price for our ADSs would likely decline. If other individuals, including short sellers, disseminate negative information regarding our business or our ADSs, the market price for our ADSs may also decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for our ADSs to decline.
Your rights as a shareholder in a German corporation may differ from your rights as a shareholder in a U.S. corporation.
We are organized as a stock corporation (Aktiengesellschaft) under the laws of Germany. You should be aware that the rights of shareholders under German law differ in important respects from those of shareholders in a U.S. corporation. These differences include, in particular:
|●||Under German law, certain important resolutions, including, for example, capital decreases, measures under the German Transformation Act (Umwandlungsgesetz), such as mergers, conversions and spin-offs, the issuance of convertible bonds or bonds with warrants attached and the dissolution of the German stock corporation apart from insolvency and certain other proceedings, require the vote of a 75% majority of the capital present or represented at the relevant shareholders’ meeting. Therefore, the holder or holders of a blocking minority of 25% or, depending on the attendance level at the shareholders’ meeting, the holder or holders of a smaller percentage of the shares in a German stock corporation may be able to block any such votes, possibly to our detriment or the detriment of our other shareholders.|
|●||As a general rule under German law, a shareholder has no direct recourse against the members of the management board or supervisory board of a German stock corporation in the event that it is alleged that they have breached their duty of loyalty or duty of care to the German stock corporation. Apart from insolvency or other special circumstances, only the German stock corporation itself has the right to claim damages from members of either board. A German stock corporation may waive or settle these damages claims only if at least three years have passed and the shareholders approve the waiver or settlement at the shareholders’ meeting with a simple majority of the votes cast, provided that a minority holding, in the aggregate, 10% or more of the German stock corporation’s share capital does not have its opposition formally noted in the minutes maintained by a German civil law notary.|
For more information, we have provided summaries of relevant German corporation law and of our articles of association under “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—C. Board Practices” and “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association.”
Exchange rate fluctuations may reduce the amount of U.S. dollars you receive in respect of any dividends or other distributions we may pay in the future in connection with your ADSs.
Under German law, the determination of whether we have been sufficiently profitable to pay dividends is made on the basis of our unconsolidated annual financial statements prepared under the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch) in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in Germany. Exchange rate fluctuations may affect the amount in U.S. dollars that our shareholders receive upon the payment of cash dividends or other distributions we declare and pay in Euros, if any. Such fluctuations could adversely affect the value of our ADSs and, in turn, the U.S. dollar proceeds that holders receive from the sale of our ADSs.
In the event we are or become treated as a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, U.S. holders of our ADSs could be subject to adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences.
In the event we were treated as a PFIC, U.S. holders (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Taxation of ADSs”) of our ADSs could be subject to adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences. These consequences include the following: (i) if our ADSs are “marketable stock” for purposes of the PFIC rules and a U.S. holder makes a mark-to-market election with respect to its ADSs, the U.S. holder will be required to include annually in its U.S. federal taxable income an amount reflecting any year-end increase in the value of its ADSs, (ii) if a U.S. holder does not make a mark-to-market election, it may incur significant additional U.S. federal income taxes on income resulting from distributions on, or any gain from the disposition of, our ADSs, as such income generally would be allocated over the U.S. holder’s holding period for its ADSs and subject to tax at the highest rates of U.S. federal income taxation in effect for such years, with an interest charge then imposed on the resulting taxes in respect of such income, and (iii) dividends paid by us would not be eligible for reduced individual rates of U.S. federal income tax. We do not intend to furnish holders with the information necessary to make a “qualified electing fund” election in lieu of a mark-to-market election. In addition, U.S. holders that own an interest in a PFIC are required to file additional U.S. federal tax information returns.
A U.S. holder may in certain circumstances mitigate adverse tax consequences of the PFIC rules by filing an election to treat the PFIC as a qualified electing fund, or a QEF. However, in the event that we are or become a PFIC, we do not intend to comply with the reporting requirements necessary to permit U.S. holders to elect to treat us as a QEF. See “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—Additional United States Federal Income Tax Consequences—PFIC Rules.”
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
If we are unable to obtain patent protection for our products or otherwise protect our intellectual property rights, our business could suffer.
We rely on a combination of patents, trademarks, trade secrets and confidentiality agreements and other contractual arrangements with our employees, end-users and others to maintain our competitive position. Our success depends, in part, on our ability to obtain patent protection for or maintain as trade secrets our proprietary products, technologies and inventions and to maintain the confidentiality of our trade secrets and know-how, operate without infringing upon the proprietary rights of others and prevent others from infringing upon our business proprietary rights.
Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, it is possible that competitors or other unauthorized third parties may obtain, copy, use or disclose our technologies, inventions, processes or improvements. We cannot assure you that any of our existing or future patents or other intellectual property rights will be enforceable, will not be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, or will otherwise provide us with meaningful protection or any competitive advantage. In addition, our pending patent applications may not be granted, and we may not be able to obtain foreign patents or elect to file applications corresponding to our U.S. and EU patents. The laws of certain countries outside the United States and EU may not provide the same level of patent protection as in the United States and the EU, so even if we assert our patents or obtain additional patents in countries outside of the United States and the EU, effective enforcement of such patents may not be available. If our patents do not adequately protect our technology, our competitors may be able to offer additive manufacturing systems or other products similar to ours. Our competitors may also be able to develop similar technology independently or design around our patents, and we may not be able to detect the unauthorized use of our proprietary technology or take appropriate steps to prevent such use. Any of the foregoing events would lead to increased competition and lower revenues or gross margins, which could adversely affect our operating results.
We may not be able to protect our trade secrets and intellectual property.
While some of our technology is licensed under patents belonging to others or is covered by process patents which are owned or applied for by us, much of our key technology is not protected by patents. Furthermore, patents are jurisdictional in nature and therefore only protect us in certain markets, rather than globally. In particular, in fast-growing markets such as China and India, our technology is not protected by patents. We have devoted substantial resources to the development of our technology, trade secrets, know-how and other unregistered proprietary rights. While we enter into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements intended to protect such rights, such agreements can be difficult and costly to enforce or may not provide adequate remedies if violated. Such agreements
may be breached and confidential information may be willfully or unintentionally disclosed, or our competitors or other parties may learn of the information in some other way. Since we cannot legally prevent one or more other companies from developing similar or identical technology to our unpatented technology, it is likely that, over time, one or more other companies may be able to replicate our technology, thereby reducing our technological advantages. If we do not protect our technology or are unable to develop new technology that can be protected by patents or as trade secrets, we may face increased competition from other companies, which may adversely affect our results of operations.
We have license rights and exclusivity of certain patents and intellectual property and cannot adequately estimate the effects of their expiration upon the entrance or advancement of competitors into the additive manufacturing industrial market.
We have exclusive and non-exclusive license rights to certain patents that we utilize in the industrial market. Some of these patents have already expired, and others will expire within the next one to three years. We cannot adequately estimate the effect that the expiration of these patents will have upon the entrance or advancement of other additive manufacturing manufacturers into the industrial market. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Intellectual Property.”
We may be subject to claims alleging patent infringement.
Our products and technology, including the technology that we license from others, may infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties. Patent applications in the United States and most other countries are confidential for a period of time until they are published, and the publication of discoveries in scientific or patent literature typically lags actual discoveries by several months or more. As a result, the nature of claims contained in unpublished patent filings around the world is unknown to us, and we cannot be certain that we were the first to conceive inventions covered by our patents or patent applications or that we were the first to file patent applications covering such inventions. Furthermore, it is not possible to know in which countries patent holders may choose to extend their filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty or other mechanisms. In addition, we may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims from individuals, vendors and other companies, including those that are in the business of asserting patents, but are not commercializing products in the field of 3D printing. Any claims that our products or processes infringe the intellectual property rights of others, regardless of the merit or resolution of such claims, could cause us to incur significant costs in responding to, defending and resolving such claims, and may prohibit or otherwise impair our ability to commercialize new or existing products. Any infringement by us or our licensors of the intellectual property rights of third parties may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Third-party claims of intellectual property infringement successfully asserted against us may require us to redesign infringing technology or enter into costly settlement or license agreements on terms that are unfavorable to us, prevent us from manufacturing or licensing certain of our products, subject us to injunctions restricting our sale of products and use of infringing technology, cause severe disruptions to our operations or the markets in which we compete, impose costly damage awards or require indemnification of our sales agents and end-users. In addition, as a consequence of such claims, we may incur significant costs in acquiring the necessary third-party intellectual property rights for use in our products or developing non-infringing substitute technology. Any of the foregoing developments could seriously harm our business.
We may incur substantial costs enforcing or acquiring intellectual property rights and defending against third-party claims as a result of litigation or other proceedings.
In connection with the enforcement of our intellectual property rights, opposing third parties from obtaining patent rights or disputes related to the validity or alleged infringement of our or third-party intellectual property rights, including patent rights, we have been and may in the future be subject or party to claims, negotiations or complex, protracted litigation. Intellectual property disputes and litigation, regardless of merit, can be costly and disruptive to our business operations by diverting attention and energies of management and key technical personnel, and by increasing our costs of doing business. We may not prevail in any such dispute or litigation, and an adverse decision in any legal action involving intellectual property rights, including any such action commenced by us, could limit the scope of our intellectual property rights and the value of the related technology. While we strive to avoid infringing the intellectual property rights of third parties, we cannot provide any assurances that we will be able to avoid any infringement claims.
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, documentary, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
Periodic maintenance fees on any issued patent are due to be paid to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, and foreign patent agencies in several stages over the lifetime of the patent. The USPTO and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions during the patent application process. While an inadvertent lapse can in many cases be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Non-compliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include, but are not limited to, failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. If we or our exclusive licensors fail to maintain the patents and patent applications covering our products and processes, our competitive position would be adversely affected.
We may be subject to claims that our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their former employers.
Certain of our past and present employees were previously employed at other additive manufacturing companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Some of these employees executed proprietary rights, non-disclosure and non-competition agreements in connection with such previous employment. Although we try to ensure that our employees do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or these employees have used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of any such employee’s former employer. We are not aware of any threatened or pending claims related to these matters, but in the future litigation may be necessary to defend against such claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable personnel or intellectual property rights. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management. As we expand our operations into the United States and elsewhere, we may face similar claims with regard to our future employees in these countries.
Certain of our employees and patents are subject to German law.
The majority of our employees work in Germany and are subject to German employment law. Ideas, developments, discoveries and inventions made by such employees and consultants are subject to the provisions of the German Act on Employees’ Inventions (Gesetz über Arbeitnehmererfindungen), which regulates the ownership of, and compensation for, inventions made by employees. We face the risk that disputes can occur between us and our employees or ex- employees pertaining to alleged non-adherence to the provisions of this act that may be costly to defend and take up our management’s time and efforts whether we prevail or fail in such dispute. In addition, under the German Act on Employees’ Inventions, certain employees retained rights to patents they invented or co-invented prior to 2009. Although most of these employees have subsequently assigned their interest in these patents to us, there is a risk that the compensation we provided to them may be deemed to be insufficient and we may be required under German law to increase the compensation due to such employees for the use of the patents. In those cases where employees have not assigned their interests to us, we may need to pay compensation for the use of those patents. If we are required to pay additional compensation or face other disputes under the German Act on Employees’ Inventions, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
If we fail to comply with our obligations under our intellectual property-related agreements or if we receive an adverse court decision in a lawsuit regarding these agreements, we could lose rights that are important to our business or be subject to restrictions on the conduct of our business.
We have license and co-ownership agreements with respect to certain intellectual property that is important to our business with both Z Corp and The ExOne Company (“ExOne”), which was acquired by Desktop Metal, Inc. in November 2021, respectively, that impose restrictions on our use of certain intellectual property. We are party to other intellectual property-related agreements that also are important to our business. Disputes may arise between the counterparties to these agreements and us that could result in termination of these agreements, costly litigation or arbitration that diverts management’s attention and company resources, regulatory review or restrictions on the conduct
of our business. If we fail to comply with our obligations under our intellectual property-related agreements or receive an adverse court decision in a lawsuit regarding these agreements, the counterparties may have the right to terminate these agreements or sue us for damages or equitable remedies, including injunctive relief. Termination of these agreements, the reduction or elimination of our rights under these agreements, or the imposition of restrictions under these agreements may result in having to negotiate new or reinstated licenses with less favorable terms, or to cease commercialization of licensed technology and products. This could materially adversely affect our business. In March 2018, ExOne GmbH, a subsidiary of ExOne, notified us of their intent not to pay their annual license fees under an existing intellectual property-related agreement and asserted their rights to claim damages pursuant to an alleged material breach of the agreement. While we dispute these claims, the matter could result in one or more of the risks discussed herein.
Certain technologies and patents have been developed with partners and we may face restrictions on this jointly-developed intellectual property.
We have entered into cooperation agreements with a number of industrial and commercial partners, as well as university partners. We have, in some cases individually and in other cases along with our partners, filed for patent protection for a number of technologies developed under these agreements and may in the future file for further intellectual property protection and/or seek to commercialize such technologies. Under some of these agreements, certain intellectual property developed by us and the relevant partner may be subject to joint ownership by us and the partner and our commercial use of such intellectual property may be restricted, or may require written consent from, or a separate agreement with, the partner. In other cases, we may not have any rights to use intellectual property solely developed and owned by the partner. If we cannot obtain commercial use rights for such jointly-owned intellectual property or partner-owned intellectual property, our future product development and commercialization plans may be adversely affected.
ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY
A. HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY
voxeljet AG is a stock corporation organized under the laws of Germany. The legal predecessor of our Company was founded as Generis GmbH on May 5, 1999. On January 7, 2004, Generis GmbH changed its name to Voxeljet Technology GmbH.
On July 2, 2013, the shareholders of Voxeljet Technology GmbH incorporated VXLT 2013 AG, which was registered in the commercial register of the local court (Amtsgericht) of Augsburg, Germany on July 11, 2013 under number HRB 27999.
Voxeljet Technology GmbH was subsequently merged by way of merger through assumption into VXLT 2013 AG on July 29, 2013 effective as of September 12, 2013 upon registration of the merger in the commercial register of the surviving entity, VXLT 2013 AG. The merger had retroactive effect as of January 1, 2013. As part of the merger, VXLT 2013 AG changed its name to voxeljet AG effective upon the registration of the merger in the commercial register. By way of merger through assumption, upon effectiveness, voxeljet AG, as the surviving entity, took over all assets and liabilities of Voxeljet Technology GmbH by universal assumption and accession under German mandatory law, and Voxeljet Technology GmbH ceased to exist.
On October 23, 2013, we sold 5,600,000 ADSs in our initial public offering at a price of $13.00 per ADS, thereby raising $72.8 million (before underwriting discounts and costs). The ADSs we sold in the initial public offering represented new shares issued in a capital increase resolved by our shareholders for purposes of the initial public offering on October 11, 2013.
On April 16, 2014, we completed a follow-on offering of 3,000,000 ADSs at a public offering price of $15.00 per ADS. Net proceeds from the follow-on offering to the Company were approximately $41.4 million. On April 24, 2014, the underwriters in the follow-on offering purchased 450,000 ADSs from certain of the Company’s shareholders (the “Selling Shareholders”) pursuant to the overallotment option they were granted in the follow-on offering. The Company did not receive any proceeds from the sale of ADSs by the Selling Shareholders.
On October 18, 2018, we issued 972,000 ordinary shares, equivalent to 4,860,000 ADSs, at an offering price of $2.57 per ADS (the “Public Offering Price”). The Company received net proceeds of approximately $10.6 million. Members of our Management Board, who are also significant shareholders, purchased an aggregate number of 233,462 ADSs in this offering at the Public Offering Price. On November 8, 2018, we closed the over-allotment option in which we issued additional 144,000 ordinary shares, equivalent to 720,000 ADSs. The Company received net proceeds of approximately $1.6 million.
During 2021, in January, February and July, we completed three registered direct offerings and sales (the “2021 Offerings”) of a total of 2,190,711 ADSs, which provided voxeljet with total gross proceeds of approximately USD 32 million (€ 26.6 million) before deducting fees and expenses.
On October 7, 2022, we issued 1,279,070 ordinary shares equivalent to an equal number of ADSs, at an offering price of USD 3.44 (€ 3.60) per ADS in a registered direct offering priced at-the-market under the NASDAQ Listing Rules completed on October 13, 2022. The Company received gross proceeds of approximately $4.4 million (€ 4.6 million) before deducting fees and expenses.
In December 2022, we privately placed 828,943 ADSs, each representing one ordinary share, at a purchase price of USD 2.16 (€ 2.04), with Anzu Ventures II LLC. The capital increase was registered on December 22, 2022 and the private placement was completed when we received the remaining portion of the related funds amounting to USD 0.9 million (€ 0.9 million) in January 2023. The first portion of USD 0.9 million (€ 0.8 million) was received in December 2022. This capital increase provided us with gross proceeds of USD 1.8 million (€ 1.7 million) before deducting fees and expenses.
In January 2023, we issued the Anzu Note in a principal amount of USD 3.2 million (€ 3.0 million). The Anzu Note matures on January 3, 2028, and includes interest payable monthly at a rate of 3% per annum. In addition, the Anzu Note includes a voluntary prepayment right for voxeljet, and, in the case of fundamental changes including a change of control in voxeljet, a right by voxeljet to repay the Anzu Note and a right by Anzu to require that voxeljet repurchases the Anzu Note. The aforementioned rights are considered to be embedded derivatives that have to be bifurcated. A one-time interest payment equal to the above principal amount of USD 3.2 million (€ 3.0 million) is required to be paid upon maturity or at time of prepayment. The terms of the Anzu Note include certain covenants and events of default.
Our website is www.voxeljet.de. Information contained on or available through our website is not incorporated by reference in or made part of this annual report and any references to our website are intended to be inactive textual references only. Our principal executive offices are located at Paul-Lenz-Straße 1a, 86316 Friedberg, Germany, and our telephone number is +49 821 7483 100. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Corporation Service Company, located at 1090 Vermont Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, telephone number (800) 927-9800.
Capital expenditures are funds used by the Company to acquire or upgrade physical or intangible assets such as property, plants, buildings, equipment or software. Our capital expenditures amounted to €0.8 million, € 0.8 million and €0.1 million, for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively. In 2022, our capital expenditures mainly consisted of equipment required for our research and development activities. In 2021 and 2020, our capital expenditures mainly comprised equipment required for our research and development activities and upgrades related to our Enterprise Resource Planning (“ERP”) System, respectively.
B. BUSINESS OVERVIEW
We are a provider of high-speed, large-format 3D printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers. Our 3D printers employ a powder binding, additive manufacturing technology to produce parts using various material sets, which consist of particulate materials and proprietary chemical binding agents. We offer our customers the highest volumetric output rate in the industry due to the combination of our large build boxes and print speeds. We provide our 3D printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers serving the automotive, aerospace, art and architecture, engineering and consumer product end markets.
We currently offer seven different 3D printer platforms, with build boxes that range from 290 × 140 × 180 millimeters to 4,000 × 2,000 × 1,000 millimeters and various print speeds, which produce volumetric output rates ranging from 0.6 liters per hour to 168.0 liters per hour. All of our platforms support our commercialized material sets, sand and plastics, along with their respective proprietary chemical binding agents. We develop our material sets according to the needs of our industrial and commercial customers, and we are currently in varying stages of developing new material sets, including shell molding and chromite sands, polymethyl methacrylate (“PMMA”)-based plastics, ceramics, silicon carbide, tungsten carbide and cement.
Our business is divided into two principal segments: Systems and Services.
In our Systems segment, we focus on the sale, production and development of 3D printers. In addition, we sell refurbished 3D printers which were produced for and used in our Services segment and provide printers to customers under operating lease agreements. We also provide consumables, including particulate materials and proprietary chemical binding agents, maintenance contracts and spare parts to our customers.
In our Services segment, we print on-demand parts for our customers. We operate service centers in Germany, the United States and China. At our service centers, we create parts, molds, cores and models based on designs produced using 3D computer-aided design (“CAD”) software. Furthermore, there are customers who order casted parts directly from us. In those cases, we provide molds or models to external suppliers who then cast the parts for our customers. We believe our service center in Germany is one of the largest additive manufacturing service centers in Europe.
We sold our first 3D printer in 2002 and commenced our on-demand parts services business in 2003. As of December 31, 2022, we had an installed base of 224 printers worldwide, and we operated service centers in Germany, the United States and China. Our service centers in Germany and the United States each have more than 40,000 square feet of production space. Our service center in China has approximately 49,000 square feet and approximately 27,000 square feet of production space, respectively.
Our Additive Manufacturing Technology
Our printers build or print parts from digital designs produced using 3D CAD software by successively depositing thin layers of particulate materials. A printhead passes over each layer and deposits our proprietary chemical binding agent in the selected areas where the finished product will be created.
The following is a graphical depiction illustrating our manufacturing process:
Our 3D Printers
We currently produce seven 3D printer platforms. Our 3D printers consist of a build box that includes a machine platform and a controller. Our 3D printers differ based on build box size and print speeds, but all utilize our technology and can support each of our existing material sets and each of our material sets that are currently in development. As of December 31, 2022, we had an installed base of 224 printers worldwide, which includes (i) printers in our service centers and (ii) printers which are no longer commercially available, but which we believe our customers continue to use.
The following table is a comparison of our 3D printer platforms:
Build Box (millimeters)
300 X 200 X 150
290 X 140 X 180
1,000 X 600 X 500
1000 X 540 X 400
External Dimensions (millimeters)
2,100 X 1,500 X 1,400
1,700 X 900 X 1,500
3,400 X 3,300 X 2,600
2,900 X 2,500 X 2,010
Print Resolution (dots per inch)
Layer Thickness (micrometers)
80 - 100
150 - 300
Volumetric Output Rate (liters per hour)
0.57 - 0.72
4.89 – 37.37
Date of Introduction
Build Box (millimeters)
1,280 X 680 X 500
2,000 X 1,000 X 1,000
4,000 X 2,000 X 1,000
External Dimensions (millimeters)
2,600 X 4,250 X 5,250
5,700 X 3,700 X 2,500
20,000 X 7,800 X 4,300
Print Resolution (dots per inch)
Layer Thickness (micrometers)
100 - 500
Volumetric Output Rate (liters per hour)
Date of Introduction
Our commercialized material sets are comprised of sand and plastic particulate materials and their respective proprietary chemical binding agents. We believe these material sets are well suited for our commercial and industrial customers because these materials either (i) are commonly used in their existing manufacturing processes or (ii) match or exceed desired performance characteristics of existing materials being utilized in their manufacturing processes. Our sand material set offerings include four types of sands: (i) silica, (ii) kerphalite, (iii) zirconium oxide and (iv) chromite, with furan, inorganic, shell molding and phenol resins as proprietary chemical binding agents. Our plastics material set offering is based on PMMA, Polypor B and C (as the proprietary chemical binding agents), and Polyamide.
We are currently in varying stages of development of new material sets which include the following particulate materials:
|●||different types of sands;|
|●||different types of ceramics;|
|●||silicon carbide and other hard metals;|
On-demand Parts Services
At our service centers, we create parts, molds, cores and models for a variety of industrial and commercial customers based on designs produced using 3D CAD software. We receive orders directly from customers and indirectly through our sales agents.
Our service centers in Germany and the United States each have more than 40,000 square feet of production space. Our Chinese service center is located in a facility with more than 78,000 square feet of production space, storage and office space.
We help our customers move from the design stage to the production stage by assisting them in evaluating the optimal design and material sets for their production needs. After printing parts, we employ a thorough cleaning, finishing, quality control review and packaging and shipping process to ensure the customer receives high-quality and immediately-usable parts. Based on our capacity utilization, the lead time required for us to print a part for a customer ranges from three to 21 days and is typically five business days. Due to the size of the printers’ build boxes utilized in our German service center, specifically the VX4000 printer, we are able to print more parts simultaneously on one printer, resulting in cost-effective and quick turnaround times for our customers’ print jobs and increased revenue and profitability for us.
Our technicians also train customers on operating, maintaining and troubleshooting our 3D printers through hands-on experience at our German service center. Additionally, our technicians provide field support to our customers as needed. After the warranty period, we offer maintenance contracts to our customers. Those contracts include scheduled service visits where we maintain and clean the 3D printers as well as on demand visits and troubleshooting, in case of sudden problems.
We positioned ourselves in the market for additive manufacturing and utilize this technology to provide part production and solutions to industrial and commercial customers, including the foundry, automotive, heavy equipment, power fluid handling, aerospace and consumer product industries. Our vision and mission are to re-define additive production, making it viable for serial production. Over the years we have established deep relations with a number of leading multinational customers, which received either printed parts services or entire printer systems from our broad variety of industrial-grade printers. Out of our broad customer portfolio we deal with companies including Daimler AG, BMW AG, Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen AG, Porsche SE, Evonik Industries AG as well as with other key users of additive manufacturing. In addition, technical universities such as the ETH Zürich, and the Vaal University of Technology are part of our wide-ranging customer base. Companies investing into voxeljet’s technology include original equipment manufacturers, government agencies, independent service bureaus that provide rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing to their respective customers. Many of our clients have been active buyers for over a decade. We do also engage in research and development projects with a number of our automotive and technical university customers, including those named above as well as the Technical University of Munich. As our customers integrate additive manufacturing into their production processes, they typically continue to utilize our on-demand parts printing service center for a variety of reasons, including for incremental capacity and for parts printed from different material sets.
A significant portion of our business comes from a limited number of customers. Our top five customers represented 26%, 25% and 28% of total revenues for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively. These top five customers primarily purchased 3D printers. In the year ended December 31, 2022, there were no customers who accounted for more than 10% of our revenues. Sales of on-demand parts and consumables tend to be from repeat customers that may utilize the capability of our on-demand parts service centers for one month or even longer. Sales of 3D printers are low volume and generate significant revenues, but the same customers do not necessarily buy printers in each period. Timing of customer purchases is dependent on the customer’s capital budgeting cycle, which may vary from period to period. The nature of the revenues from 3D printers does not leave us dependent upon a single or a limited number of customers. Rather, the timing of the sales can have a material effect on our period-to-period financial results.
Sales and Marketing
We sell our 3D printers and related after-sales products both through our direct and indirect sales channels, and we partner with more than 20 third-party sales agents globally. Our internal sales organization, the direct channel, is responsible for worldwide sales of our 3D printers and on-demand parts services, as well as for the management and coordination of our sales agent network. The direct sales channel focuses primarily on customers in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, while our sales agents are responsible for sales in other areas of the world where we do not operate directly. We have entered into partnership agreements with each of our sales agents, which grant the sales agent the right to market our products in a defined territory on either an exclusive or non-exclusive basis. However, all sales contracts for our products are entered into between us and our customers. Certain of these sales agents also provide direct maintenance services to customers in their defined territories. Our application engineers provide professional services through pre-sales support and assist existing customers so that they can take advantage of our latest consumables and techniques to improve part quality and machine productivity. This group also leverages our customer
contacts to help identify new application opportunities that utilize our proprietary processes. As of December 31, 2022, our worldwide sales staff for systems and parts consisted of 41 employees. We also expect that our subsidiaries in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific will improve market access through local market development and allow the targeting of specific customers.
Consulting work to educate our customers and raising awareness about the many uses and benefits of our 3D printing technology is one of the most important parts of our sales process. We believe that customers who experience the improved efficiency, lowered lead times, higher design flexibility and reduced costs that can be provided by 3D printing are more likely to purchase our 3D printers and/or utilize our on-demand parts services. We encourage potential purchasers of our 3D printers to first experience our on-demand parts services, so that the benefits of our 3D printing technology are immediate and apparent. We currently market our brand and our services at industry conferences, trade shows, and across various forms of digital and traditional media and plan to increasingly expand our marketing efforts in North America in conjunction with our geographic expansion to that region.
Services and Warranty
Our fully-trained service technicians perform installations of our 3D printers. For the first year following the purchase of one of our 3D printers, we provide complimentary service and support under the statutory warranty. We also offer service contracts under which our customers can purchase maintenance and services beyond the one-year term of the warranty. These service contracts contain varying degrees of support services and are priced accordingly. Finally, we sell spare parts which we maintain in stock to assist in providing service expeditiously to our customers. Historically, we have not experienced a high level of warranty claims.
Manufacturing and Suppliers
We assemble our 3D printers at our facility in Friedberg, Germany as well as some platforms in our facility in Suzhou, China, close to Shanghai, using components sourced from distributors of standard electrical or mechanical parts, as well as from manufacturers which design custom parts tailored to the proprietary designs of our machines. We periodically review the quality and performance of our distributors and manufacturers. Upon completion of the assembly of our 3D printers, we perform tests to ensure that the printer is functioning properly before the system is shipped and again after the system is installed at the customer’s site.
To provide customers with assurance regarding the quality and consistency of our systems, we obtained ISO 9001:2015 certification for our facility in Germany in 2017 and for our facilities in the U.S. and in China in 2020. ISO 9001:2015 provides a structure for a quality management system that strives for customer satisfaction, consistent quality and efficiency. In addition, there are internal benefits such as improved customer satisfaction, interdepartmental communications, work processes and customer-and-supplier partnerships. The ISO 9000 family of standards relates to quality management systems and is designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders.
Inventory and Suppliers
We maintain an inventory of certain parts to facilitate the timely assembly of products required by our production plan. While most components used in our 3D printers are available from multiple suppliers, certain of these components are only available from limited sources. We consider our limited-source suppliers, including the suppliers of our printheads, to be reliable; however, the loss of one of these suppliers could result in a delay in our operations. This type of delay could require us to find and re-qualify components supplied by one or more new vendors. Although we consider our relationships with our suppliers to be good, we continue to develop risk management plans for these critical suppliers. Regarding inventory we defined targets for raw materials as well as for work in progress. The strategy includes meeting customer expectation and demand for spare parts, wear parts as well as 3D printers with an attractive lead time.
Research and Development
We have an ongoing research and development program to develop new 3D printers and material sets and to improve and expand the capabilities of our existing 3D printers and related material sets. As of December 31, 2022, we had various active research and development projects in different stages of completion. All research and development costs are charged to expense as incurred, as the criteria set forth in International Accounting Standards (“IAS”) 38 for capitalizing such costs have not yet been met. Our development efforts are augmented by development arrangements with research institutions, customers and suppliers of material and hardware, among others.
In addition to our internally-developed technology platforms and the related software, we have licensed the rights to intellectual property developed by third parties through licensing agreements that may obligate us to pay a license fee or royalty, typically based upon a dollar amount per unit or a percentage of the revenues generated by such products.
Our research and development expenses were € 6.9 million, € 6.1 million, and € 6.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively.
A significant portion of our research and development expenditures has been focused upon developing proprietary systems, processes and materials, including:
|●||the qualification of new print materials, including phenolic resins and inorganic binders, PMMA-based and other plastics, ceramics, silicon carbide and cement;|
|●||the development of new or enhanced proprietary chemical binding agents;|
|●||the development of new or enhanced binding mechanisms;|
|●||the mechanics of spreading powders in a build box;|
|●||the transfer of digital data through a series of software links to drive a printhead; and|
|●||synchronizing all of the above to print ever-increasing volumes of material per unit time.|
We also regularly apply for research and development grants and subsidies under European and German grant rules for small and medium enterprises. The majority of these grants and subsidies are non-refundable. We have received grants and subsidies from different authorities, including the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie), the Bavarian Research Foundation (Bayerische Forschungsstiftung) and the German Federal Foundation Environment (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt).
We expect to continue to invest significantly in research and development in the future.
We consider our proprietary technology to be important to the development, manufacture, and sale of our products and seek to protect such technology through a combination of patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. We also have in place confidentiality agreements and other contractual arrangements with our employees, consultants, customers and others.
Patents. As of December 31, 2022, we owned or co-owned 71 issued U.S. patents and 38 pending U.S. patent applications. In addition, we own or co-own patent rights in Europe, Asia, Brazil and Canada. In total, as of December 31, 2022 our patent portfolio consisted of over 469 patents and patent applications. Our currently issued patents will expire at different times in the future, with the earliest expiring in 2023 and the latest expiring in 2042. Our currently pending applications will generally remain in effect for 20 years from the date of the initial applications.
These patent assets are complemented by our marketing, business development and applications know-how and our ongoing research and development efforts. Nevertheless, there can be no assurance that our patents, licenses or other
intellectual property rights will afford us a meaningful competitive advantage in the fast-paced and innovative field in which we operate.
Trade Secrets. As is true in our industry generally, the development of our products, processes and materials has involved a considerable amount of experience, manufacturing and processing know-how and research and development techniques. We protect our proprietary processes and technologies with a blend of patent protection and trade secret protection. As part of our overall intellectual property strategy, we protect our non-patented proprietary knowledge as trade secrets through confidentiality controls and through the use of nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements.
Licenses. We are a party to various licenses and other arrangements that allow us to practice and improve our technology under a range of patents, patent applications and other intellectual property, including license agreements with ExOne, 3D Systems (Z Corp), Bego Medical GmbH, or Bego, and Evonik IP GmbH each described in more detail below.
In 2003, we entered into an agreement with Extrude Hone GmbH (now doing business as ExOne) related to patents and technologies using certain binders, methods and equipment for 3-D printing processes, including sand-based 3-D printing. Under the terms of this agreement, ExOne purchased an ownership share in certain patents and related technologies from us. Further, we granted ExOne certain rights to exploit these technologies and ExOne entered into an ongoing obligation to pay royalties to us. The parties also agreed to share revenues generated from any licenses granted by ExOne. The agreement states that we are permitted to use machines and provide services relating to these technologies, but not to make or sell machines utilizing these technologies without ExOne's consent, although ExOne has an obligation to consent if the machines do not compete with products engineered, manufactured or sold by ExOne or its affiliates. If we intend to sell any of the intellectual property that is the subject of this agreement, ExOne has the option to acquire it at fair market value. Similarly, ExOne has a right of first refusal regarding the purchase of any developments and improvements we make to such intellectual property and a set of six patents (including one U.S. patent) related to wax technologies, as well as the right to negotiate to receive a license to such developments and improvements. We later signed an amendment with ExOne specifically allowing us to use the subject patents for our 3D printers working with plastics in exchange for the payment of a license fee. The obligation of both parties to pay royalties under this agreement extends until the expiration of the last issued patent included in the list of transferred patent assets.
While the agreement states that our rights are limited regarding use of certain binders and sand-based casting methods in 3D printers with ExOne, we believe these limitations will not materially impact the growth of our business, as we are able to continue certain activities in compliance with the agreement and we have developed processes which do not rely upon the subject patent portfolio, associated agreements and related technologies. If needed, we will take steps to protect our ability to continue such activities including by challenging the validity or enforceability of certain provisions of the agreement. In March 2018, ExOne GmbH, a subsidiary of ExOne, notified us of their intent not to pay their annual license fees under this agreement and asserted their rights to claim damages pursuant to an alleged material breach of the agreement. While we are vigorously disputing these claims, the outcome of this matter is uncertain.
In 2004, we entered into a non-exclusive license and sublicense agreement with Z Corp (acquired by 3D Systems in 2012), which allows us to make, use and sell 3D printing equipment for the fabrication of plastic parts utilizing organic powder binders under certain Z Corp and Massachusetts Institute of Technology patents. In return for these rights, we agreed to pay an initial license fee and ongoing tiered royalties. We later amended this agreement, expanding our permitted use of the licensed binder-jetting technology to include inorganic powder, ceramics, and concrete printing in a process that does not require post processing other than oven baking parts or liquid infiltration, but restricting us to monochromatic color configurations. The agreement extends until the expiration of the licensed patents; however, the parties may terminate the agreement under certain conditions.
In 2012, we entered into a cross licensing agreement with Bego pursuant to which each party granted to the other certain exclusive rights regarding each parties’ patents and applications directed to continuous additive manufacturing. We granted to Bego an exclusive license to market patent covered products in the field of laser sintering and other related technologies, while Bego granted to us an exclusive license to market patent covered products in the field of binder-jetting technology (other than for dental applications). We also agreed to pay to Bego a royalty and to pay a participation fee to Bego in the event that we grant any sublicenses to the technology (which, to date, we have not done). This agreement automatically terminates upon the expiration of the last patent subject to the agreement.
In March 2015, we entered into a non-exclusive technology license agreement with Evonik IP GmbH, in which voxeljet acquired a license for a 3D printing process using polymeric materials that we believe offers distinct speed and cost benefits. This powder bed fusion process allows for production of parts with thermoplastic properties. In return for these rights, we agreed to pay an upfront payment and ongoing royalties for each royalty period, subject to the payment of a fixed minimum annual royalty if higher. The agreement shall remain in force until the expiration of the last to expire patent of the licensed patents; however, either party may terminate the agreement under certain conditions.
In addition to the foregoing licenses, we have also licensed additional patents that we believe can be used to expand our material set offerings. In several cases, we are also a licensor in areas which are not related to our core technology and which may create added value for us in the future.
Trademarks. We have secured word and figurative trademarks for voxeljet in Europe and have international (IR) applications covering the United States, Russia and a number of countries in Asia.
Our principal competitors consist of other developers of 3D printing systems and providers of 3D printing services. These companies use a variety of additive manufacturing technologies, including:
|●||fused deposition modeling;|
|●||selective laser sintering;|
Some of the companies that have developed and use one or more additive manufacturing technologies to compete with us include: ExOne, 3D Systems Corporation, Stratasys, Ltd., EOS GmbH and HP Inc.
These technologies, which compete for market share in the additive manufacturing industry, possess various competitive advantages and disadvantages relative to one another within key categories, including resolution, accuracy, surface quality, variety and properties of the materials they use and produce, capacity, speed, color, transparency and the ability to print multiple materials. Due to these multiple categories, we believe end-users usually make technology purchasing decisions based on the characteristics that they value most for a particular application. The competitive environment that has developed is therefore intense and dynamic, as market players often position their technologies to capture multiple vertical markets.
Despite the challenging competitive landscape, we believe that we have several competitive advantages, including the size of our build platforms, our printing speeds, the volumetric output rate of our 3D printers and the variety of qualified material sets that we offer to commercial and industrial customers.
We also compete with established subtractive manufacturers in the industrial products market. However, we believe that we are well positioned to expand our share of the industrial products market as additive manufacturing gains recognition and increases its cost effectiveness. As our technologies improve and our unit cost of production decreases, we expect to be able to better compete with subtractive manufacturing on a wide range of products, thereby expanding our addressable market.
Historically, our results of operations have been subject to seasonal factors. Purchases of our 3D printers often follow a seasonal pattern owing to the capital budgeting cycles of our customers. Generally, 3D printer sales are higher
in our second and fourth fiscal quarters than in our first and third fiscal quarters. Sales in our Services segment generally are not affected by seasonality. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—Our revenues and operating results may fluctuate.”
We are subject to environmental, health and safety regulations in Germany, as well as in the countries where our products and materials are used or sold.
Legal Requirements for Manufacturing Sites
Emissions Control Law. We do require a permit granted under the Federal Emissions Control Act (Bundes-Immissionsschutzgesetz, or BImSchG), as we use resins (Harze) to create models for customers. Therefore, the permit was granted for the buildings “Halle 1” and “Halle 2” to us in December 2013 by the District Administration (Landratsamt) of Aichach-Friedberg. The permit was granted under the condition (Auflage), that the amount of resins processed by us does not exceed 25 kilograms per hour. In 2020, the District Administration (Landratsamt) revised and concretised the permit. For the building “Halle 3”, the permit was granted in July 2016 by the District Administration (Landratsamt) of Aichach-Friedberg. The permit was granted under the condition (Auflage), that the amount of resins processed by us does not exceed 10 kilograms per hour. Facilities that are subject to BImSchG are required to comply with the current state of the art (Stand der Technik) in emissions reduction and safety technology. We are therefore supervised by the Landesamt für Umweltschutz (LfU) and as well by the District Administration (Landratsamt) of Aichach-Friedberg and have regularly give full reports about the emissions in our facilities.
Production, Possession and Handling of Waste and Dangerous Goods. Our business activities result in the generation, possession and handling of waste, including hazardous waste. Under the German Act on Recycling (Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz, or KrWG), the generation, possession and handling of waste is subject to several obligations, depending, among other things, on the waste concerned. As the producer (Erzeuger) and possessor (Besitzer) of waste, we are generally responsible for the proper handling of this waste.
Section 50 of the KrWG in conjunction with the provisions of the Ordinance on Waste Disposal Records (Nachweisverordnung) requires producers, possessors, collectors and transporters of waste and disposal firms to verify to the competent authority proper disposal of hazardous waste (gefährliche Abfälle). Whether a certain substance qualifies as hazardous waste is determined according to the German Ordinance on the European Waste List (Verordnung über das Europäische Abfallverzeichnis).
We further comply with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, which is accepted as an international guideline for the safe transportation or shipment of dangerous goods or hazardous materials by water.
We also comply with the Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 18, 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
We have trained and educated an employee to serve as our risk prevention officer (Gefahrgutbeauftragter). The risk prevention officer ensures that we comply with specific regulations and provisions when dangerous goods are shipped. In addition, we have one “Authorized Person” (Beauftragte Person), who is equally responsible for the risk prevention, and who is advised by the risk prevention officer. All of these persons (risk prevention officer and the authorized persons) do regularly take part in external trainings.
Legal Requirements Related to Products
Product Safety. Our products are used in a wide range of industries. As some of our products may be used directly by customers, we are subject to the German Product Safety Act (Produktsicherheitsgesetz, or ProdSG). The ProdSG is mainly based on Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of December 3, 2001 on general product safety (GPSD). Through the ProdSG and its predecessors, the GPSD was transformed into German law. With the ProdSG of July 27, 2021 that followed the version of November 8, 2011 and the ninth regulation to the ProdSG as amended (Neunte Verordnung zum Produktsicherheitsgesetz (Maschinenverordnung)), the German legislature also
transformed, among other European Directives, the Directive 2006/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of May 17, 2006 on machinery into German law. The ProdSG applies whenever products are made available on the market, exhibited or used for the first time in the context of a commercial activity, but only in the absence of other legal provisions that provide for corresponding or more far-reaching provisions.
Under the ProdSG, a product may be made available on the market only if it complies with specific regulations for such product, or, in the absence of such specific regulations, if its intended or foreseeable use does not put the health and safety of persons at risk. In essence, under the ProdSG manufacturers may only place "safe" products on the market.
In addition to compliance with this safety requirement, if products are made available to consumers, manufacturers must provide consumers with the necessary information to enable them to assess the risks inherent in such product where such risks are not immediately obvious without adequate warnings. In the event of potential product issues, manufacturers might be under an obligation to take precautions against such risks (for example, withdraw products from the market, inform consumers, recall products which have already been supplied to consumers, etc.). If manufacturers or distributors of consumer products discover that a product is potentially dangerous or unsafe, they must generally notify the competent authorities and, if necessary, cooperate with them. Unsafe products may also be listed in an EU-wide publicly-accessible database such as RAPEX or ICSMS.
Occupational Health and Safety Requirements. As the working environment may pose threats to employees, occupational health and safety laws must be complied with. German law on occupational safety is heavily influenced by the requirements of EU law. The central rules on occupational safety in Germany are contained in the Act on Occupational Safety (Arbeitsschutzgesetz, or ArbSchG) which requires employers to provide for their employees’ safety. This general obligation is put into effect through several ordinances (Rechtsverordnungen) which are defined in technical guidelines. One central element is the Workplaces Ordinance (Arbeitsstättenverordnung) which contains various regulations on workplace conditions relating to, for example, ventilation, temperature and illumination.
In addition, we are under surveillance of the employers’ liability insurance association (Berufsgenossenschaft). All companies in Germany are obliged to be a member of the Berufsgenossenschaft which monitors the companies’ compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Requirements and which in general covers liability for accidents at work and occupational diseases.
Potential Liability for Products and Environmental Losses
Our business activities are such that product liability and liability for environmental damage are possible. Under general rules of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, or BGB), fault-based compensation (Schadensersatz) is to be paid for breach of contract or unlawful infringements of legally protected rights. This obligation does not only apply to our own acts but may potentially extend to behavior of individuals that work or undertake tasks for us under Sections 278, and 831 of BGB.
In addition, we may be strictly liable (i.e., liable regardless of our fault), as a Producer under the Product Liability Act (Produkthaftungsgesetz, or ProdHaftG), for damages caused by a defective product. “Producer” generally means any participant in the production process, the importer of the defective product, any person putting a name, trademark or other distinguishing feature on the product, and any person supplying a product whose actual producer cannot be identified. A product is “defective” when it does not provide the safety which a person is entitled to expect when taking all circumstances into account, including among other things, the presentation of the product, the use to which it could reasonably be expected that the product would be put and the time when the product was put into circulation.
Additionally, in case of damage to persons or property caused by our facility, we may be strictly liable under the Act on Liability for Environmental Damage (Umwelthaftungsgesetz). In case of environmental damages to species, natural habitats, water or soil we may be liable under the Environmental Damage Act (Umweltschadensgesetz). The Environmental Damage Act only applies if German Federal or State Legislation does not specify the prevention and restoration of environmental damage or does not comply with this Act in its requirements.
Our operations and the activities of our employees, contractors and agents around the world are subject to the laws and regulations of numerous countries, including the United States. These laws and regulations include data privacy requirements, labor relations laws, tax laws, anti-competition regulations, prohibitions on payments to governmental officials, federal and state environmental regulations, import and trade restrictions and export requirements. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines, criminal sanctions against our officers, our employees, or us and may result in prohibitions on the conduct of our business. Any such violations could also result in prohibitions on our ability to offer our products and services in one or more countries and could materially damage our reputation, our ability to attract and retain employees, our business and our operating results.
Our operations (particularly in those countries with developing economies) are also subject to risks of violations of laws prohibiting improper payments and bribery, including the European Union Anti-Corruption Act, UK Bribery Act, U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar regulations in other jurisdictions. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws, our employees, contractors, and agents may take actions in violation of such policies. Any such violations, even if prohibited by our policies, could subject us to civil or criminal penalties or otherwise have an adverse effect on our business and reputation.
From time to time, we may be subject to various claims or legal, arbitration or administrative proceedings that arise in the ordinary course of our business. We are currently not a party to any legal, arbitration or administrative proceedings which, in the opinion of our management, may have or have had in the recent past, significant effects on our business, financial condition or results of operations, including governmental proceedings pending or known to be contemplated.
Settlement of SEC Investigation
On July 1, 2022, the Company entered into a settlement agreement with the SEC in full resolution of a cease-and-desist order issued by the SEC related to the Company’s reporting during two quarters in 2019 of our compliance with the Finance Contract and the state of our internal accounting controls. The Company self-reported and shared facts developed in our internal investigation, and fully cooperated with the SEC in connection with the settlement. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations (other than with respect to the SEC’s jurisdiction and the subject matter of the proceedings), we agreed to the entry of the order pursuant to which (i) the Company and Mr. Rudolf Franz, our Chief Financial Officer, agreed to pay a penalty of $175,000 and $50,000, respectively, to the SEC; (ii) the Company will cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of the reporting standards of Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20 and 13a-16 thereunder; and (iii) the Company will undertake to complete, fully implement, and test its remediation plan.
We maintain comprehensive business liability insurance coverage (Betriebshaftpflichtversicherung “Compact-Firmenversicherung”) for our business operations. In addition, we have obtained directors and officers liability insurance, which covers expenses, capped at a certain amount, that our Management and Supervisory Board members and our executive managers may incur in connection with their conduct as members of our Management and Supervisory Boards or executive managers. We also maintain insurance policies on our 3D printers, a group insurance policy for our employees covering occupational accidents, car insurance policies and a legal expenses insurance policy. We consider the insurance coverage we have to be adequate in light of the risks we face.
Our revenues by geographic region for the year ended December 31, 2022 were EMEA 46%, Asia Pacific 24% and Americas 29%, as compared to EMEA 49%, Asia Pacific 29% and Americas 22% for the same period in 2021. For the year ended December 31, 2020, our revenues by geographic region were EMEA 53%, Asia Pacific 21% and Americas 26%. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results.”
C. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Our corporate structure includes voxeljet AG (formerly Voxeljet Technology GmbH) and the two wholly-owned subsidiaries voxeljet America Inc. (voxeljet America), and voxeljet India Pvt. Ltd (voxeljet India). Additionally it includes voxeljet China Co. Ltd. (voxeljet China) where we held a shareholding of 88.52% interest. In December 2020, we initiated the wind-up of voxeljet UK Ltd. (voxeljet UK), which was finalized on February 17, 2022 when, upon submission of final account by liquidators to the Companies House, the affairs of voxeljet UK were fully wound up.
On February 5, 2014, our subsidiary, voxeljet America Inc. was incorporated in Delaware. voxeljet America Inc. is headquartered near Detroit, Michigan and conducts our North American operations. We began printing on-demand parts at the facility in the first quarter of 2015.
On October 1, 2014, we completed the acquisition of all outstanding shares of Propshop (Model Makers) Limited (“Propshop”) which became voxeljet UK Ltd, headquartered in Milton Keynes. Following a review of the cost-benefit considerations of voxeljet UK, management decided to wind up the subsidiary, which was initiated in December 2020. The employees of our voxeljet UK sales team have been moved to voxeljet AG and will continue to focus on selling 3D printed parts and 3D printers in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe. The wind-up was finalized on February 17, 2022.
On November 30, 2015, we established our subsidiary voxeljet India Pvt. Ltd to pursue opportunities in the industrial 3D printing market in India. voxeljet India is headquartered and registered in the city of Pune, a large automotive and manufacturing center near Mumbai. Since the fourth quarter of 2019 the office is located in the city of Mumbai.
voxeljet China was established on April 11, 2016 and is located in the city of Suzhou, near Shanghai. Within the contribution of a lease contract on March 1, 2019 which included 36 months free of rent, which was negotiated by our joint venture partner Suzhou Meimai Fast Manufacturing Technology Co., Ltd. (“Meimai”), Meimai increased its shareholding from 4.175% to 30.0% as provided in the joint venture contract. Therefore our shareholding in voxeljet China decreased to 70.00% on March 1, 2019. On September 1, 2021, Meimai transferred half of its equity interest in voxeljet China, or 15% of voxeljet China’s equity, to its shareholder MK Holding GmbH and the remaining half of its equity interest, or 15% of voxeljet China’s equity, to its shareholder Mr. Jin Tianshi, the managing director of voxeljet China. On June 15, 2022, the shareholders of voxeljet China approved the increase of registered capital of voxeljet China from RMB 20,000,000 (EUR 2,671,191) to RMB 52,250,000 (EUR 7,227,885). As a result of this capital increase, voxeljet AG owns 88.52% of voxeljet China and is entitled to nominate three directors, while each of MK Holding GmbH and Mr. Jin Tianshi owns 5.74% of voxeljet China and is entitled to nominate one director.
D. PROPERTY, PLANTS AND EQUIPMENT
At December 31, 2022, we leased the following four properties worldwide:
Area (Sq. Feet)
Headquarters, production space, office space
Production space, office space
Canton, Michigan, USA
Production space, office space
We believe that our existing facilities, which are all leased, are adequate for our current and foreseeable requirements.
On August 11, 2022, we initiated the Sale-Leaseback of voxeljet AG’s properties located in Friedberg, Free State of Bavaria, Germany with IntReal International Real Estate Kapitalverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH. The transaction closed on October 31, 2022 and the lease term commenced on November 1, 2022. On closing of the Sale-Leaseback, the title in land and buildings were transferred to IntReal and the deletion of the first rank land charge amounting to
€ 10.0 million on land and facility located in Friedberg (Germany) Paul-Lenz-Straße, 1a as collateral in favor of the EIB and of the land charges serving as collateral for Sparkasse was initiated by notary. The first rank land charge was registered in March 2020 in connection with the signing of a waiver with the EIB. In connection with the Sale-Leaseback, also on August 11, 2022 we initiated the full settlement of the Finance Contract with EIB including the repayment of tranche A and B1 thereunder, including all interest for an amount of € 22.0 million, which was completed on October 31, 2022. Additionally, we early terminated several loans granted by Sparkasse with a settlement in August 2022 amounting to € 0.8 million and in October 2022 amounting to € 3.1 million.
ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our audited financial statements and the related notes thereto included elsewhere in this annual report. In addition to historical financial information, the following discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, estimates and opinions. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to these differences or cause our actual results or the timing of selected events to differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements include those set forth under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors,” “Special Note Regarding Forward Looking Statements” and elsewhere in this annual report.
The following summarizes the more significant factors impacting our operating results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 and the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 as well as our liquidity in fiscal years 2022 and 2021. We have omitted discussion of 2020 results where it would be redundant to the discussion previously included in our annual report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC on March 31, 2022.
A. OPERATING RESULTS
We are a provider of high-speed, large-format 3D printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers. Our 3D printers employ a powder binding, additive manufacturing technology to produce parts using various material sets, which consist of particulate materials and proprietary chemical binding agents. We offer our customers the highest volumetric output rate in the industry due to the combination of our large build boxes and print speeds. We provide our 3D printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers serving the automotive, aerospace, art and architecture, engineering and consumer product end markets.
We currently offer seven different 3D printer platforms, with build boxes that range from 290 × 140 × 180 millimeters to 4,000 X 2,000 X 1,000 millimeters and various print speeds, which produce volumetric output rates ranging from 0.6 liters per hour to 168.0 liters per hour. We develop our material sets according to the needs of our industrial and commercial customers, and we are currently in varying stages of developing new material sets, including various thermoplastic materials, inorganic binders, different foundry sands, PMMA-based plastics, ceramics, silicon carbide and cement.
We believe that our innovations in 3D printers will continue to increase customer adoption of our additive manufacturing technology in industrial and commercial applications.
Our business is divided into two segments: Systems and Services.
In our Systems segment, we focus on the development, production and sale of 3D printers. In addition, we sell refurbished 3D printers which were produced for and used in our Services segment. Before these 3D printers are sold, they are fully refurbished and a new printhead is installed. We also provide consumables, including particulate materials and proprietary chemical binding agents, maintenance contracts, extended warranty contracts and spare parts to our customers.
In our Services segment, we print on-demand custom parts for our customers. At our service centers, we create parts, molds, cores and models based on designs produced using 3D CAD software.
We sold our first 3D printer in 2002 and commenced our on-demand parts services business in 2003. As of December 31, 2022, we had an installed base of 224 printers worldwide, and we operated service centers in Germany, the United States and China.
Our revenues were € 27.8 million, € 24.8 million, and € 21.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively.
Our net loss increased by € 0.8 million to a net loss of € 11.4 million in 2022 compared to a net loss of € 10.6 million in 2021. In 2021 our net loss decreased by € 4.9 million to a net loss of € 10.6 million compared to a net loss of € 15.5 million in 2020.
Historically, our results of operations have been subject to seasonal factors. Purchases of our 3D printers often follow a seasonal pattern owing to the capital budgeting cycles of our customers. Generally, 3D printer sales are higher in our second and fourth fiscal quarters than in our first and third fiscal quarters. Sales in our Services segment generally are not affected by seasonality. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—Our revenues and operating results may fluctuate.”
Within fiscal year 2022, we had operations in Germany, the United States, China and India. As a result, our revenue and earnings have exposure to a number of currencies, primarily the Euro, the U.S. dollar and the Chinese renminbi. As our presentation currency is the Euro, and the functional currencies of the businesses located outside of Europe are their local currencies, the results of the businesses located outside of Europe must be translated each period to Euros. The financial statements of foreign subsidiaries are translated using the concept of the functional currency in accordance with IAS 21. The assets and liabilities of foreign subsidiaries are translated at the spot rate at the end of the period, while their income statement items are translated at average exchange rates for the respective periods. All resulting exchange differences are recognized in other comprehensive income. Gains and losses on foreign currency transactions primarily due to intercompany loans given to our subsidiaries are shown within other operating income and other operating expenses, respectively, in the consolidated statement of comprehensive loss. This calculation may differ from similarly titled measures used by other companies and, accordingly, the changes excluding the effect of foreign currency translation are not meant to substitute for changes in recorded amounts presented in conformity with IFRS nor should such amounts be considered in isolation.
We do not manage our foreign currency exposure in a manner that would eliminate the effects of changes in foreign exchange rates. Therefore, changes in exchange rates between these foreign currencies and the Euro will affect our revenues, cost of goods sold, and operating margins, and could result in exchange losses in any given reporting period.
Our business strategy focuses on (i) growing our Services segment in order to print more parts for our existing customers and gain new customers in Europe, Asia Pacific and Americas and (ii) using our knowledge and market position to increase sales of our 3D printers in the Systems segment. Our growth strategy is also dependent in part on continuing our investment in research and development activities, which should enable us to meet the needs of our target customers through the development of new material sets and 3D printers with faster print speeds. Expanding our business to realize our growth strategy may require additional investments of capital from time to time, and our existing sources of cash and any funds generated from operations may not provide us with sufficient capital. For various reasons additional financing may not be available when required or may not be available on terms favorable to us. If we fail to obtain adequate cash sources on a timely basis or if funds cannot be obtained at reasonable costs, we may not be able to achieve our planned rate of growth, which will adversely affect our results of operations.
We intend to develop our customer base internationally, so that our revenues are not dependent on sales to any one region. We also seek to grow both our Systems and Services segments so that we are not overly reliant on either segment. We believe that this strategy will help to offset some of the variability in the Systems segment, which can be more susceptible to macroeconomic trends.
We believe that interest in additive manufacturing is increasing as a result of increased commercialization of 3D printers and recent media attention worldwide. We occupy a defined space in the additive manufacturing market because of the size of our machines and their ability to print industrial products from qualified industrial materials. While our 3D printers may differ from those of many other additive manufacturing companies, we expect an increase in additive manufacturing to generally have a positive effect on the public’s awareness of our industry.
Furthermore, we believe that additive manufacturing provides several advantages over traditional design and manufacturing processes, including:
|●||elimination of design constraints;|
|●||reduced cost of complexity;|
|●||reduced time to market; and|
|●||cost effective short run production.|
There are a number of available additive manufacturing technologies, including powder binding, inkjet, fused deposition modeling, stereolithography and selective laser sintering. These technologies differ on the basis of accuracy, surface quality, variety and properties of consumables, capacity, speed, color variety, transparency and the ability to print multiple materials, among other factors. Our 3D printers employ a powder binding technology to produce parts using various material sets. Powder binding is a process in which layers of powder are bonded by a liquid agent that is deposited through a printhead. We believe this process has the fastest build speeds and the lowest materials cost relative to other additive manufacturing technologies.
We believe that our investments in additional capacity in continental Europe and service centers in the United States and China should position us to generate growth in our Services segment in the future.
We also expect to spend significant time and resources remediating material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting as well as cooperating with any review by our regulators.
Key Measures of Our Business
We use several financial and operating metrics to measure our business. We use these metrics to assess the progress of our business, make decisions on where to allocate capital, time and technology investments, and assess the longer- term performance of our marketplace. The key metrics are as follows:
Our revenues are generated primarily by sales of our new or used and refurbished 3D printers, service and maintenance contracts, consumables and custom 3D printed parts produced at our service centers. We operate in two segments: Systems and Services. The Systems segment derives its revenues from the sale of new or used and refurbished 3D printers and products and services related to our 3D printers, including service and maintenance and consumables, which include particulate materials and proprietary chemical binding agents, maintenance contracts and spare parts. Systems revenue also includes revenues associated with the leasing of 3D printers to customers; however, revenues related to the leasing of 3D printers is not material. Within the Systems segment, we also report revenues from tailoring
and development services. The Services segment derives its revenues from the on-demand printing of parts at our service centers.
Our revenues are influenced by:
|●||global macroeconomic conditions;|
|●||the adoption rate of our 3D printers and material sets;|
|●||our ability to develop new products and technologies that address the increasingly sophisticated and varied needs of prospective end-users, particularly with respect to the physical properties of print materials and other consumables;|
|●||the capital expenditure budgets of our potential customers;|
|●||the amount of design and manufacturing activity; and|
|●||the adoption of additive manufacturing technology in various industries.|
Sales of our 3D printers, particularly our higher-priced systems, typically involve long sales cycles, are subject to seasonality and can be difficult to forecast. Because each of our printers can represent a significant amount of revenues, a delay in a purchasing decision, our production schedule or the shipment of a printer can have a material impact on our periodic reporting of revenues.
From time to time, refurbished 3D printers which have been operating at the Company’s service centers are routinely sold to customers. Before these 3D printers are sold, they are generally fully refurbished, a process which includes the installation of a new printhead. On average, these refurbished printers have been operating within the service center for 1.5 to 2.5 years prior to their sale. The proceeds from the sale of such refurbished 3D printers are recognized as Systems revenues.
Our gross profit and gross profit margin for our Systems and Services segments are mainly influenced by materials and labor costs. In particular, the gross profit margin in our Systems segment on sales of our 3D printers also depend on the type and status of the sold products. Sales of refurbished printers manufactured by us typically generates lower gross profits compared to sales of new 3D printers.
Our EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is mainly influenced by the gross profit from our Systems segment and Services segment as well as from the operating expenses from the functions research and development, administration and sales and marketing. In addition, other operating expense and other operating income including gains and losses from foreign exchange transactions have an impact on EBITDA. The gross profit from our Systems segment is mainly driven by materials and labor costs. The gross margin drivers for our Services segment relate to revenues, materials, labor and energy costs as well as facility costs. Costs for the non-productive functions are influenced primarily by labor. Research and development expenses are partially driven by materials. One of the main drivers of expenses for the administrative function is legal fees as well as accounting and auditing fees while sales and marketing expenses are also influenced by commissions paid to sales agents.
As a financial performance indicator, we consider the cash and cash equivalents available to us, which include cash on hand, restricted cash, and short-term financial assets with maturity of three months or less. Restricted cash includes cash pledged with banks to provide bank guarantees and letters of credit.
As a non-financial performance indicator, we measure the number of patent applications per year. In this way, success and progress can be measured in one of the most important areas for the Company, namely research and development.
We regularly use both IFRS and non-IFRS results and expectations internally to assess our overall performance of the business, making operating decisions, and forecasting and planning for future periods. We believe that Adjusted EBITDA is a useful financial measure to the Company’s investors as it helps investors better understand and evaluate the projections our Management Board provides. Our calculation of Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similarly titled financial measures reported by other peer companies. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as a substitute to financial measures prepared in accordance with IFRS.
We use Adjusted EBITDA as a supplemental financial measure of its financial performance. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income (loss), as calculated under IFRS accounting principles, interest (income) expense, provision (benefit) for income taxes, depreciation and amortization, and excluding other (income) expense resulting from foreign exchange gains or losses on the intercompany loans granted to the subsidiaries. We believe Adjusted EBITDA to be an important financial measure because it excludes the effects of fluctuating foreign exchange gains or losses on the intercompany loans granted to its subsidiaries. We are unable to reasonably estimate the potential full-year financial impact of foreign currency translation because of volatility in foreign exchange rates. Therefore, we are unable to provide a reconciliation to our forward-looking guidance for non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA without unreasonable effort as certain information necessary to calculate such measure on an IFRS basis is unavailable, dependent on future events outside of our control and cannot be predicted without unreasonable efforts by the Company. Adjusted EBITDA for the twelve months ended December 31, 2022 was negative.
Statements of Comprehensive Loss Data
Year Ended December 31, 2022 compared to Year Ended December 31, 2021
The following table sets forth certain statements of comprehensive loss data both on an actual basis and as a percentage of revenues for the periods indicated:
Year Ended December 31,
Percentage of revenues
Percentage of revenues
(€ in thousands)
(€ in thousands)
(€ in thousands)
Cost of sales
Research and development expenses
Other operating expenses
Other operating (income)
Net loss before income taxes