voxeljet announced a “Review of Strategic Alternatives”.
That is quite an ominous headline, but what does it mean?
voxeljet is the manufacturer of a very interesting set of large-scale 3D printers typically used for metal casting. Their equipment uses a binder jet process to print large objects in sand, plastic or ceramics. Their production VX series uses this process to quickly print sand molds that are commonly used for casting. Their VX4000 is one of the largest commercial 3D printers in the world, boasting a build volume of 4000 x 2000 x 1000 mm.
Their most recent technology is the HSS process, an unusual and speedy approach to producing large plastic objects from powder.
Unfortunately, it seems that all this innovation hasn’t triggered financial success in the company. The company has lingered around our weekly 3D print company leaderboard near the bottom for as long as we’ve tracked them.
An inspection of their stock price over the past ten years shows the problem. They were highly valued long ago, but declined — as many 3D printer manufacturers did back them — but have seemingly been unable to recover.
This chart shows their progress over the past year, which as you can see, shows a steady downward trend.
No company can withstand that forever, and it seems that company management has come to a decision. They’ve decided to “initiate a formal review process to evaluate strategic alternatives for the Company.” This involves external professional consultants.
What the heck does that mean? voxeljet said it could include:
”A full range of strategic, business, and financial alternatives, including, but not limited to, investments, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures, strategic partnerships, or other transactions.”
In other words, they’d like to merge, be acquired, sell assets or something else. It seems that they’ve realized they cannot succeed in their present form and are looking for a way to leverage what they have in a different future.
They also indicate they have “no timetable” for the process, suggesting they’ll take as long as they need. They also say they won’t comment on the process until it’s finished.
This doesn’t sound that good for the company, but at least they’re going to try something new.
One surprising aspect is that during all this period quite a number of companies have been acquired or merged in the 3D print space. Somehow voxeljet has been left to the side during all that activity.
It could be that one of the larger entities sees voxeljet (or their assets) as something that might complement their existing product line, and make a move.
Or it could be that none of them do, leaving voxeljet in a difficult position. This might be the most likely outcome, given the merger fever that has swept the space. If there was value to be had, a company would likely have already scooped them up.