Voxeljet's (NYSE:VJET) stock debuted on the NYSE today in jet propulsion mode. The stock opened at $20 and closed at $28.83, a nearly 122% gain from its original $13 pricing.   

This German company provides high-speed, large-format 3-D printers and on-demand parts production services to industrial and commercial customers. Its machines can build models and components out of several different kinds of sands and plastics.

ExOne(NASDAQ:XONE) is its main competitor in the sand space; both companies manufacture printers that industrial customers use to produce sand molds for casting metal components. 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) and Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) are its main publicly traded competitors in the plastics space.

Voxeljet's scorching IPO price action might not come as a surprise to those following the hot additive manufacturing industry. The entire 3-D printing sector is projected to grow 20% to 30% annually for the next five years. ExOne's stock soared 47% in its own February IPO.  

Voxeljet's price action seemed to benefit ExOne, whose shares traded up about 3% fairly steadily throughout the day. That looks like a vote of confidence in the two companies' high-end, industrials-focused 3-D printer space. Meanwhile, 3D Systems and Stratasys shares went basically nowhere. 

Here's how voxeljet's valuation now stacks up against its main competitors. 

Company

Market Cap

Annual Revenue (mil)

Price/Sales

P/E

P/E (frw)

Operating Margin (%)

Profit Margin (%)

3D Systems

 5.7B

415

 13.9

 131

 42.7

18.7

9.6

Stratasys

 4.3B

324

 13.2

.N/A

 45.8

1.4

(5.4)

ExOne

 777.8M

38.4

 19.8

 N/A

 120

(16.2)

(21)

voxeljet

 449.3M

11.1

 40.5

 N/A

 N/A

N/A

N/A

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

If you're interested in investing in voxeljet, now may not be the ideal time. Its price-to-sales ratio is about three times that of the two larger 3-D printing companies, and twice that of ExOne's. Value-conscious Fools might want to consider waiting until the initial IPO appeal dies down.

Powerful lift-off, but does it have staying power?
Voxeljet's IPO may attract a lot of attention, but the movements of its shares matter less than the company behind them. If you're curious about the company, check out more information on voxeljet's operations, financials, and competitive advantages.

Right now, voxeljet's shares are extremely richly valued, not only from an absolute basis, but relative to its main competitors. The company does have some potentially big competitive advantages related to machine speed, size, and configuration, but it's too early in the game to tell whether its future prospects justify this lofty valuation.

 

BA McKenna has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems, ExOne, and Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems, ExOne, and Stratasys and has the following options: short January 2014 $36 calls on 3D Systems and short January 2014 $20 puts on 3D Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.