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Business briefs

03 Nov 2006

Including news from Kodak, Diomed Holdings, Dalsa, Axetris, Ciena, Sofradir, Omron, Perkin Elmer and others.

Eastman Kodak has reported an earnings improvement of $877 million for Q3 2006, on sales of $3.2 billion. The company delivered a $98 million increase in digital earnings, driven by wider gross profit margins, strong earnings in graphic communications and consumer digital businesses, and cost-reduction. Kodak expects digital revenue growth somewhat below its 10% target, corresponding to a revenue decline of approximately 6%. "Our digital earnings improved this quarter and our cash balance continues to exceed $1 billion. This performance represents clear progress toward our goals and gives us good momentum to carry into the fourth quarter and 2007," said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and CEO.

Intelligent Optical Systems, has entered into a joint agreement with Japan's Institute for Future Technology, Tokyo, to explore technology to protect the US and Japan from chemical and biological threats. The partners will investigate the use of IOS's Dicast system, a fiber optic-sensing technology that analyzes ambient air and detects the presence of multiple toxic gases.

Dalsa has reported revenue of $47.4 million in Q3 2006 and net income of $3.3 million. Revenues for the first nine months of the year were $143 million, up 15% from $124.9 million in last year's same period. Net earnings were $9.9 million compared to $7.7 million.

• Optical network specialist Ciena, is expanding its relationship with Interoute, owner of Europe's most advanced next-generation voice and data network, to upgrade and expand the operator's Eastern European network. Interoute says the Ciena deployment will make it the first service provider to offer "carrier-class" 10 Gbit/s wavelength and 10 Gbit/s Ethernet services on-demand to enterprise customers in emerging EU countries.

Sofradir, a developer of advanced infrared detectors, has signed a €1 million ($1.3 million) contract with a supplier of electro-optic space and defense systems. Sofradir will provide large format, 30 µm pixel pitch shortwave infrared detectors for hyperspectral application in airborne platforms. The mercury cadmium telluride focal plane array to be supplied, Saturn SWIR, is one of the largest monolithic formats on the market.

• Spectroscopy systems developer Polychromix is to work with NASA to provide so-called Digital Transform Spectrometer tools for determining water content on the surface of the Moon. NASA will outfit the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite with Polychromix near-infrared spectrometers.

Omron has finalized its agreement with NHK Spring and completed the screening process of the Japan Fair Trade Commission to acquire NHK Spring's FTTH optical coupler business from November 1, 2006, following the preliminary deal agreed in August. Production is relocating to Omron's Kusatsu factory.

Synova, a pioneer in water jet-guided laser technology, is to develop a 50:50 joint venture with Sugino Machine, Japan, to bolster its presence in the Japanese micromachining equipment market and progress Synova's global expansion plans.

PerkinElmer, a developer of health sciences and photonics technologies, this week reported financial results from Q3 2006 trading. Earnings per share were $0.23 on revenue of $386.9 million, a 7% increase on Q3 2005. Revenue growth was 9% in Life and Analytical Sciences and 2% in Optoelectronics compared to the same period.

• Swiss company Axetris Microsystems, a division of Leister Process Technologies has appointed Armstrong Optical, Northants, UK, as its distributor for the UK and Ireland. Axetris's range includes slow- and fast-axis collimators for laser diodes, fiber-collimating lens arrays, diffraction gratings, diffractive optics and microlens arrays.

Diomed Holdings, a developer of minimally-invasive medical technologies, including the Endovenous Laser Treatment for varicose veins, has appointed William Allan as managing director of its UK subsidiary Diomed, based in Cambridge. He will oversee operations and manage marketing outside of the Americas.

Anritsu Instruments has introduced the Access Master MT9083A Series of all-in-one field measuring OTDR devices for optical networks. Previously, maintaining optical networks required technicians to carry a variety of equipment. But now Anritsu has developed these OTDRs that test multiple wavelengths and have options to satisfy any network testing requirement: access or metro, FTTx or LAN. MP

Business news from Compound Semiconductor

Much like its rival vendor Veeco Instruments, Aixtron is enjoying a strong upturn in orders for compound semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Aixtron has raised its full-year financial guidance for 2006 by €10 million on the back of a very strong uptick in orders for MOCVD equipment.

The Germany-based deposition equipment vendor now believes that it will generate a revenue of €160 million ($204 million) this year, and make a €3 million profit. Asia-based makers of LEDs are largely to thank for the improved market confidence, with order intake for compound semiconductor manufacturing equipment standing at €102 million for the first nine months of 2006.

The figure represents an increase of 89% compared with the first nine months of 2005, when Aixtron was forced to reduce its financial guidance for the year and described its customer base as "cautious". That caution now appears to be a thing of the past, with CEO Paul Hyland saying: "We have a very busy and challenging time ahead of us."

For the quarter that ended on September 30, Aixtron made sales of ?40.9 million, up 41 per cent on the equivalent period in 2005 when revenue was only ?29.1 million. In the first nine months of 2006, sales of compound semiconductor manufacturing equipment were approximately ?54 million, similar to the previous year. However, Aixtron's 2007 performance should be much stronger given the large number of orders that it has received. Michael Hatcher, editor of Compound Semiconductor

Mad City Labs, Inc.TRIOPTICS GmbHUniverse Kogaku America Inc.JenLab GmbHOptikos Corporation CHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.ABTech
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