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Laser and metrology systems makers deliver positive results

02 May 2006

Quarterly results from three companies at different stages of their fiscal years tell a similar story: markets and forward bookings are both up, while consolidation rolls inexorably on.

Newport reports Q1 2006 results; profits up 28% on 5% better sales

Newport Corp. has reported its Q1 2006 income results. The company earned $6.3 million during the quarter, a 28% increase over the equivalent period in 2005. Sales in Q1 2006 totaled $103 million, an increase of 5.1% on last year's Q1 sales of $98.2 million. The company's new orders received in Q1 2006 totaled $105.0 million, an increase of 2.5% on the $102.4 million in Q1 2005. These orders resulted in a book-to-bill ratio of 1.02.

"Strong sales to our customers in the microelectronics and life and health sciences markets helped to offset the normal seasonal slowness in the research market", Robert G. Deuster, chairman and CEO, said. "More importantly, with our increased backlog and our expectation of higher order intake in Q2, we believe that we are well positioned to deliver strong results for the remainder of the year."

First quarter 2006 sales to customers in the scientific research and aerospace, defense and security markets totaled $36.4 million and represented 35% of total sales. New orders received from customers in these markets in Q1 were $33.2 million, or approximately 32% of all new orders. First quarter 2006 sales and orders in these markets were both lower than the Q4 2005 levels, which Newport described as "consistent with the typical seasonal pattern".

"Orders from microelectronics customers increased over 11% in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2005," Deuster added. "This increase follows the 24% increase in microelectronics orders in Q4 2005 against Q3 2005."

"We expect this market to remain strong in Q2 2006, and believe that a continued robust activity level in this market will be a key factor in our ability to deliver our expected sales growth throughout the remainder of this year."

Newport's sales to customers in the life and health sciences market in the first quarter of 2006 were $16.5 million, or 16% of total sales. New orders from customers in this market in the Q1 2006 were $15.4 million, or 15% of total new orders. Sales to customers in industrial and all other end markets in Q1 2006 totaled $17.5 million, or 17% of total sales. New orders from customers in these markets in the first quarter of 2006 were $19.0 million, or 18% of total new orders.

Newport's gross profit for Q1 2006 was $43.4 million, or 42.1% of net sales, compared with $40.3 million, or 41.0% of net sales, in Q1 2005.

Coherent reports Q2 results: both sales and orders improving

Coherent, Inc. has announced the results for its Q2, which ended April 2006. The company reported sales of $146 million and net income of $8.2 million. Net income for Q2 of fiscal 2006 included $0.2 million in Excel Technology integration related costs. Excluding the charge, net income was $8.3 million.

Net income for this quarter included $2.4 million of stock-based compensation expenses. Sales and net income for the corresponding period in 2005 were $131.2 million and $19.6 million, respectively.

Income for the quarter included a one-time tax benefit of $1.8 million, a facility closure after-tax charge of $0.4 million, and an after-tax in-process R&D charge of $0.4 million associated with the purchase of Iolon. Excluding these charges and gain, net income was $8.4 million. Income for Q1 2006 also included $2.0 million of stock -based compensation costs.

Zygo's Q3 results show strong sales and earnings; "record backlog"

Zygo Corp. has announced sales of $43.0 million and earnings of $4.1 million for Q3 of 2006. Earnings were enhanced by high sales volumes, the company said. They were also improved by a cut in the company's annual effective tax rate and the recognition of a tax deduction from foreign trading, which amounted to $0.8 million.

Zygo earlier announced plans to restate certain previously issued consolidated financial statements, including those for the annual and quarterly periods of fiscal 2005 and the first two quarters of 2006. These changes are because of "inadvertent accounting errors" in the consolidation of its inter-company revenues from certain foreign operations.

"We are pleased with the strong Q3 financial results," Bruce Robinson, Zygo's Chairman and CEO, said. "I am particularly pleased with the progress we are making in our two semiconductor initiatives."

Orders for Q3 2006 were $45.3 million resulting in a book-to-bill ratio of 1.05. Orders from Zygo's semiconductor segment accounted for 67% of the orders received, with the industrial segment accounting for 33% of the orders received.

Zygo on Zygo's highlights for Q3 of 2006:

• Orders and commitments for flat panel tools continued to be strong at over $6.5 million

• The company introduced the Z3D 7000, Zygo's front-end semiconductor metrology tool.

• Orders of $14.0 million were received from lithography customers.

• Cash and marketable securities increased to $63.1 million.

• With its third quarter in a row of a positive book-to-bill, the company had a "record" backlog of $79.3 million at the end of the quarter.

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