Amid a hot local robotics scene, warehouse automation specialist Symbotic in Wilmington has moved firmly to the head of the pack.
On Monday, the company reported stellar growth in its latest quarter, sending its stock price soaring by 40 percent Tuesday. With a stock market value of about $29 billion, Symbotic ranks as the second-largest Massachusetts tech company, behind Analog Devices.
The Wilmington warehouse automation firm, which counts Walmart and Target among its customers, said revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter increased 60 percent over the same period last year to $392 million. The company lost $45 million in the quarter, 15 percent less than a year earlier, and had adjusted positive cash flow of $13 million.
That was far better than Wall Street analysts expected and Symbotic’s share price closed at $52.08 Tuesday, more than quadrupling since the start of the year. Symbotic went public by merging with a blank check company last year.
Unlike some competing warehouse systems (including Amazon’s), Symbotic’s robots work in a multilevel structure away from humans so they can operate at high speed. At the end of the quarter, 12 of the football field-sized systems were in operation, with 35 more under construction, Symbotic said. The company, which outsourced its manufacturing operations this year, said it has a backlog of orders worth $23.3 billion.
The dozen systems in use can move more than 400 million cases of goods per year at warehouses serving more than 3,000 retail stores, chief executive Rick Cohen told analysts on a call on Monday evening. Symbotic’s next generation of robots will incorporate more AI and computer vision features to improve efficiency, Cohen said.
“Over time, they’re going to be able to see each other, and therefore, they’re actually going to be able to go faster, which will essentially be collision avoidance,” he said on the call.
Analysts said Symbotic’s technology was far ahead of its warehouse automation rivals.
“We believe Symbotic’s end-to-end warehouse automation solution over time will lead to a reinvention of the warehouse and help transform the way goods are moved,” analyst James Ricchiuti at Needham & Co. wrote in a report Tuesday.
Symbotic’s revenue will grow from $1.2 billion in its just-completed fiscal year to $1.7 billion next year and more than $2.1 billion in 2025, Ricchiuti forecasted.