Skip to content
3D Printing Certification

Protolabs reports financial results for Q1 2020 with COVID-19 response


Minnesota-headquartered on demand digital manufacturing provider Protolabs, Inc. (NYSE:PRLB), has announced its financial earnings for the first quarter of 2020. 

The company’s headline revenue totalled $115.1 million, an increase of 1.5 percent over Q1 2019 where Protolabs reported $113.5 million in revenue. The company’s 3D printing certification segment experienced further growth for Q1 2020 compared to last year’s record-setting quarter for Q1 2019. 

Much of Protolabs’ financial results and earnings call centered on the impact of the global coronavirus crisis, and the company’s internal and external response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “As Protolabs confronts the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, communities, and customers,” comments Vicki Holt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Protolabs. “We continue to serve our customers during these uncertain times, and are thankful that we are able to be a part of the solution.” 

“I am very proud of the dedicated Protolabs employees,” Holt continued, “who continue to support our customers and manufacture parts with critical applications in the fight against the Coronavirus.”

Vicki Holt, President and CEO of Protolabs. Photo via Protolabs.
Vicki Holt, President and CEO of Protolabs. Photo via Protolabs.

Protolabs revenue

Protolabs revenue is reported across four main manufacturing services, constituting its segments: Injection Molding, CNC Machining, 3D Printing certification and Sheet Metal. 

Injection Molding and CNC Machining usually account for the largest shares of revenue reported by the company. 

Amounting to almost half of Protolabs total revenue, Injection Molding was reported at $54.8 million for Q1 2020, a 0.97 percent difference compared to Q1 2019’s figure of $55.3 million. CNC Machining remained flat, with the Q1 2020 revenue reported at $37.9 million, the same figure for the first quarter in 2019. 

The 3D Printing certification segment experienced an obvious growth however, with the Q1 2020 revenue coming in at $15.9 million. This figure represents a 10.14 percent increase compared to the revenue for the same period last year. 

Finally, Sheet Metal, accounting for the lowest total revenue, also experienced a growth of 12.42 percent at $5.6 million for Q1 2020. Last year for Q1 2019, this figure was $5 million.

Revenues Q1 2020 Q1 2019 Variance $ millions %
Injection Molding 54,776 55,311 -535 -0.97%
CNC Machining 37,885 37,872 13 0.03%
3D Printing certification 15,948 14,480 1,468 10.14%
Sheet Metal 5,649 5,025 624 12.42%
Other 850 764 86 11.26%
Total revenue 115,108 113,452 1,656 1.46%

Geographically, the U.S. was Protolabs’ strongest region for revenue. For Q1 2020, revenue from the U.S. was reported at $90 million, compared to $87.8 million in Q1 2019. In Europe, Q1 2020 revenue decreased 2.2 percent to $20.8 million compared to $21.25 million in Q1 2019. Japan experienced a 3.24 percent decrease in Q1 2020 to $4.2 million, compared to $4.4 million in Q1 2019.

Revenue Q1 2020 Q1 2019 Variance $ millions %
United States 90,076 87,811 2,265 2.58%
Europe 20,787 21,254 -467 -2.20%
Japan 4,245 4,387 -142 -3.24%
Total Revenue 115,108 113,452 1,656 1.46%

Holt explains that initially, financial performance and ordering trends were in-line with the company’s expectations. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified, economic activity declined, and ordering activity slowed. This dip was offset by various orders for essential parts related to the COVID-19, Holt explains: “In the last week of March, we began to receive orders for COVID-19 related parts—primarily injection molding in the Americas—which helped mitigate the slowdown in other services and regions. In the midst of this unprecedented uncertainty, we were able to deliver essential parts to our customers and achieve strong financial performance.” 

With its business model and vision focused on digital manufacturing, e-commerce and supply, Holt believes Protolabs will be able to manage the challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis, while other firms begin the process of digitization themselves: “Based on conversations I’ve been having with business leaders, it is clear this pandemic is causing manufacturers to consider changes going forward, which present favorable conditions for Protolabs. This pandemic is going to accelerate the digitization of manufacturing and the openness and preference manufacturers have to conduct business through e-commerce”

“We are confident that our ecommerce digital manufacturing business model will thrive as manufacturing adapts in response to this pandemic.”

Concept Laser DMLS machines at Protolabs. Photo via Protolabs
Concept Laser DMLS machines at Protolabs. Photo via Protolabs

Although 3D printing certification was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the business still produced a strong revenue growth. During the earnings call, John Way, CFO at Protolabs, partly attributed the growth to the company’s metal 3D printing certification operations: “We did produce 10% growth in our 3D printing certification in the first quarter despite the COVID…