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Business briefs

11 Jun 2004

Including news from Sharp, Osram Opto Semiconductors, Finisar and more.

General company news:

•  Sharp, Japan, has invested 4 billion yen ($36 million) to boost the solar cell production capacity of its Shinjo plant in Nara Prefecture. The plant now has a total of eight solar cell production lines: two for silicon single crystal and six for polysilicon production. The facility will begin operating on June 14 and will have an annual output capacity of 315 MW.

•  Osram Opto Semiconductors of Germany has filed a patent infringement complaint against Malaysian LED maker Dominant Semiconductors with the US International Trade Commission. Osram is seeking to enforce nine of its US patents and has requested injunctive relief. The complaint covers the technology which enables Osram’s LEDs to emit white light using a single semiconductor chip as well as an electrical connection structure.

•  The Ford Motor Company has integrated Osram Opto Semiconductors’ LEDs into its latest Ford Focus concept car. Osram’s high-power white Golden Dragon LEDs have been used in the car’s headlights while the amber emitters in the same range are being used in a front indicator lamp and the brake lights. The car’s reverse lamp uses Osram’s white TOPLED devices.

Financial results:

•  Finisar, the US optical component and subsystem maker, has reported a revenue of $185.6 million for fiscal 2004, which ended on April 30. Despite the annual revenue figure representing an 11% improvement on the 2003 total, the company still made a loss of almost $114 million. In its fourth quarter, Finisar made a net loss of $24.5 million on sales that rose 43% on the equivalent period in 2003 to $57 million.

Contracts:

•  Gooch & Housego, UK, has been awarded a $700 000 contract to supply the quartz waveplates for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, US. NIF, which will perform inertial confinement fusion experiments, will house 192 laser beams designed to deliver 1.8 million joules of ultraviolet laser energy and 500 terawatts of power.

Markets:

•  Meko, the UK-based displays market analyst, has predicted that the European desktop monitor market will grow 4.7% in volume in 2004. The firm has upped its forecast because sales of 20-inch and larger LCDs were much stronger than expected in Q4 2003 and Q1 2004. Meko predicts that the total volume of monitors sold in 2004 will be in excess of 38 million units rising to greater than 39 million in 2005.

Distribution agreements:

•  Agilent Technologies has signed a distribution agreement with Digi-Key. The agreement will see Digi-Key distribute Agilent's Semiconductor group products. The group’s products include LEDs, displays, optocouplers, motion control encoders and infrared and optical transceivers.

Cobolt ABHÜBNER PhotonicsAVANTES BVAUREA TECHNOLOGYECOPTIKUniverse Kogaku America Inc.Focuslight Technologies
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