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Camera and display makers report strengthening markets

02 May 2006

Newly-published quarter year results for Flir, Dalsa and Planar Technologies suggest a pattern of improving markets for their products worldwide. But to maintain double digit sales growth the companies are diversifying, restructuring and constantly refining their ranges.

Flir Systems announces Q1 2006 results; plans to split its imaging into commercial and government units

Flir Systems, Inc. has announced that its revenue for the quarter, which ended March 2006, increased by 8% to $117 million, compared with Q1 2005. Earnings from operations declined 11% due to the impact of expensing stock based compensation, higher selling and marketing costs related to certain new product introductions, and higher R&D costs.

Revenue from the thermography division increased by 10% on last year's Q1, primarily due to strong demand for InfraCam, Flir's latest thermal imaging camera. Revenue from the imaging division increased by 7% as strong sales of large airborne systems and strong demand from OEM customers offset delays on some program shipments.

The backlog of funded orders for delivery within the next 12 months was $201 million ($193 million in 2005). Cash generated from operations totaled a "record" $34&nbps;million for the first quarter of 2006.

• Flir has reorganized its imaging division into two new units: commercial vision systems, and government systems.

Commercial vision systems, under Andrew C. Teich, will focus on emerging commercial markets for IR imaging technologies, such as commercial security, OEMs, automotive, marine, airborne and first responder markets.

Government systems, under William A. Sundermeier, will be responsible for government end users in such applications as surveillance, force protection, border patrol, drug interdiction, search and rescue, special operations and target designation.

Flir's management said it expects revenue for 2006 to be approximately $590 to $600 million and that net earnings will be in the range of $1.20 to $1.30 per share.

Dalsa reports Q1 2006 results; says market conditions are 'improving'

Dalsa Corp. has reported revenue of $46.6 million for Q1 2006 and net income of $2.6 million. These figures compare with $36.9 million and $2.7 million, respectively for the same period in 2005.

"I am pleased with the Company's performance and my outlook for 2006 is positive," Savvas Chamberlain, Dalsa's CEO said. "In our digital imaging business, we are starting to see improving market conditions in key sectors such as semiconductor inspection, flat panel, electronics inspection and life sciences imaging. In the semiconductor division, our MEMS business is gaining momentum. In Q1 2006, Dalsa's MEMS revenues, which are largely derived from existing customers, were almost equal to that of CMOS revenues.

"Our semiconductor business is progressively moving from its traditional revenue base to more proprietary products and processes including MEMS and high voltage," Chamberlain added."

Dalsa's highlights

• Digital Cinema revenue, which included the billing for the first commercial shoot using the Origin camera, increased 46.3% to $0.4 million in the quarter compared to the same quarter last year.

• The order backlog increased by $5.8 million to $65.8 million through Q1 2006, largely due to an increase in custom contracts in its digital imaging business for semiconductor inspection and life sciences applications.

• Overall gross margins in the quarter were 40.4%, up slightly from Q1 2005.

Planar reports its Q2 2006 results; says 'margins improved on better sales mix'

Planar Systems, Inc. has recorded sales of $52.9 million and net income per diluted share of $0.13, including share-based compensation expense of $0.06, in Q2 that ended March 2006.

Planar's gross margins increased to 28.3% of sales compared to 21.7% in Q2, 2005. Improved margins were primarily driven by stronger product margins in each business segment, the company said. Margins also improved on Q2, 2005, because of a better mix of higher margin industrial product sales relative to commercial products.

"Earnings exceeded our expectations based to a large extent on strength in our higher margin industrial electroluminescent and active matrix LCD products," said Gerry Perkel. "We have also come through a challenging pricing environment in our commercial business while minimizing volatility of overall company profitability."

Industrial segment sales in the second quarter were $15.7&nbps;million, up 15% sequentially and up 2% compared to Q2, 2005. Planar's industrial business benefited from its core competency in higher margin EL technology and more rugged custom displays which are sold into a range of challenging markets for LCD displays.

The medical segment recorded Q2 sales of $17.0 million, down 6% sequentially and down 12% compared to last year's second quarter. The majority of the decline in sales related to Medical segment products other than digital imaging monitors where the Company began shipping the E4c, the first medically certified four megapixel diagnostic color monitor available on the market.

Planar has been rolling out a "refreshed" digital imaging product line in its medical business over the past several months. These new products are being augmented by sales, marketing and channel expansion investments. The company anticipates that these efforts should result in growth in its digital imaging business over the next several quarters. The Company is also exploring opportunities to more fully benefit from its brand in a number of higher margin, specialized display markets.

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