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Bookham, Coherent results and other business

10 Nov 2006

With news from Bookham, Coherent, Corning, Barr Associates, Modulight, Nextrom, AP Technologies, JP Sercel Associates, Tessera, Cymer, Heidelberg Engineering, Eagleyard and others.

Bookham has reported trading figures for Q1 2007. Revenue was $56.4 million, compared with $55.0 million in Q4 2006 and $62.6 million in Q1 2006. Revenue from customers other than Nortel increased 15% sequentially to $41.8 million, up from $36.5 million in the prior quarter. However, revenue from Nortel in Q1 2007 was $14.6 million, compared with $18.5 million in Q4 2006.

Gross margin in Q1 2007 was 17% compared with gross margin of 9% in the Q4 of 23% in the same period a year ago. Net loss in Q1 was $22.9 million. Included in the Q1 loss were restructuring charges of approximately $2.9 million and an impairment charge of $1.9 million for the (UK) Paignton facility. Q1 net loss compares with a net loss of $27.0 million in tQ4 2006 and a net loss of $0.5 millionin Q1 2006 (all figures under GAAP).

"The telecom spending environment continues to be healthy, especially in areas where Bookham has competitive product advantages. In addition, a number of our new products, especially our tuneable lasers, are seeing significant new design-in activity," said Giorgio Anania, president and CEO. "I do not anticipate any letup in long-term customer demand and believe that in the second quarter we expect to achieve revenue growth and greater savings in our overhead cost structure through our cost reduction plans."

Coherent has this week reported selected, unaudited, financial results for Q4 2006 and fiscal year 2006 (which ended September 30) were announced this week. Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 totaled $158.0 million, a sequential increase of 5.7% compared to the $149.5 million reported in Q3 2006 and an increase of 18.1% as compared to $133.8 million in the corresponding prior year quarter.

Net sales for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2006 totaled $584.6 million, a sequential increase of 13.2% compared to the $516.3 million for the prior fiscal year. Orders received during the quarter ended September 30, 2006 of $152.8 million, decreased 6.8% from the same prior year period and decreased 0.2% compared to the immediately preceding quarter. Coherent's backlog was $199.1 million at September 30, 2006 compared to a backlog of $199.1 million at the end of Q3 2006 and $194.1 million at October 1, 2005.

Tessera Technologies has announced its Q3 and nine-month results for the period ended September, 2006. The company has also signed a new technology licensing agreement with NXP, formerly Philips Semiconductors, one of Europe's largest semiconductor companies. "Tessera achieved Q3 revenue of $110.5 million," said Bruce McWilliams, chairman, president and CEO. Other Q3 revenue highlights: royalties and license fees were $25.9 million; payments for past production were $76.0 million and product and service revenue $8.6 million.

Corning's subsidiary in China recently held a ceremony for a new liquid crystal display (LCD) glass substrate finishing facility. The US-based company was the first TFT-LCD glass substrate supplier to announce that it would locate a production facility on the Chinese mainland. The facility, located in the Beijing Economic Technological Development Area, is expected to open in the first half of 2008. "The plant will be a symbol of our commitment to the growing Chinese TFT-LCD industry," said Wendell Weeks, president and CEO, Corning Inc.

Barr Associates has been selected by Lockheed Martin to provide optical filters for the James Webb Space Telescope Near Infrared Camera, a filter-based instrument covering the spectral range of 0.6 to 5.0 µm. Principle investigator for NIRCam is Marcia Reike of the University of Arizona, while the manufacture, integration and testing will be handled by the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) of Lockheed Martin. Barr is responsible for the design, manufacture and testing of the full compliment of 30 filters.

Modulight has been awarded a Frost & Sullivan 2006 Product Innovation Award for the development of high-power laser diodes. The award "recognizes our successful invention of technology in a product family and the degree to which it has met customer requirements," said Petteri Uusimaa, president & CEO of Modulight.

Nextrom has installed another fiber drawing tower at Jiangsu Alpha IT, Wujiang, China. The 26 m dual-sided tower features include high speed wet-on-wet coating application, graphite induction furnace and high speed transferable dual winding. The preform feeding design allows for easy loading of preforms over 2 m long. The wet-on-wet coating application is simpler to use and more space efficient than wet-on-dry coaters.

AP Technologiesis extending its relationship with Opto Diode to include its range of silicon photodiodes. "We have worked with ODC's LED technology for over 15 years and are pleased to extend this relationship to cover their silicon detectors," said Martin Sharratt, md. ODC offers standard detectors from 1 mm2 to 42 mm2 with blue/visible and red/NIR spectral enhancements.

Cymer, a developer of excimer laser light sources used in semiconductor manufacturing, this week announced the 3000th installation of a Cymer excimer laser light source at a chipmaker. The 3000th installation - an XLA 300 argon fluoride excimer laser light source, designed to enable volume production of 45 nm immersion photolithography applications - was installed at a major Japanese memory chip manufacturer. Since the XL Series was introduced in early 2003, more than 340 of the XL Series light sources have been shipped by the company.

Heidelberg Engineering, a developer of laser diagnostics for ophthalmic applications, announced today the US Food and Drug Administration has granted clearance for its Spectralis HRA+OCT. Heidelberg claims this is "the world's first" commercial spectral domain optical coherence tomograph (OCT) combined with laser angiography.

Eagleyard Photonics, a developer of high power laser diodes, announced this week at ComPaMed that its new CDL product family is available. The single emitter CDL-laser diodes (Collimating-Double-Lens), available at wavelengths of 808 nm, 940 nm, 940 nm, 980 nm and 1064 nm address the requirements of manufacturers of medical instruments to achieve their design targets. Product features include: high output power up to 10W; integrated optics; high efficiency (0.9 W/A); compact size (25x25x12 mm); low weight (30g) and easy fibre coupling.

JP Sercel Associates a developer of UV laser technology and systems integrator, has appointed Adrian Baughan, to the position of international sales and marketing manager.

Business news from Compound Semiconductor

• Epitaxy equipment vendor Aixtron has sold three more production-scale MOCVD reactors to Taiwan-based LED epiwafer and chip manufacturer Epitech. The bulk order is another sign of the strengthening market for high-brightness LED manufacturing equipment, thanks to which both Aixtron and its US rival Veeco Instruments are currently seeing a very strong increase in orders (see related stories).

Epitech, which is involved in a double-merger plan with compatriot LED makers Epistar and Highlink Technology, will use the new AIX 2600G3 machines to mass-produce red, orange and yellow AlGaInP LEDs at its epiwafer fab in the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park.

The reactors will be supplied in a 12x4-inch multi-wafer configuration. AlGaInP LEDs are more usually manufactured on smaller substrates, and Epitech normally works with 3-inch material.

The planned merger between Epitech, Epistar and Highlink Technology will create a Taiwanese LED chip manufacturing company to rival the five established leading players - Nichia, Cree, Philips Lumileds, Toyoda Gosei and Osram Opto Semiconductors. Epistar alone is already regarded as the world's biggest producer of AlGaInP-based red, yellow and orange LEDs.

Sharp, the world's largest manufacturer of conventional solar cells, is to begin shipping GaAs-based concentrator photovoltaic systems for terrestrial electricity generation next year. The Japanese online business newspaper Nikkei.net has reported that Sharp, a leading maker of solar cells, is to begin selling concentrator photovoltaic systems next year.

GaAs-based solar cells used in the systems are grown on a germanium substrate and have a photovoltaic conversion efficiency of over 37%. The systems are set to begin shipping to customers in Europe, where solar power enjoys a large subsidy from the EU.

Previously, Sharp's commercial sales of solar energy systems have not included concentrator photovoltaics based on compound semiconductors. However, the Japanese electronics company has been developing the technology in its laboratories for some time.

And at the World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion in Hawaii earlier this year, Takashi Tomita confirmed Sharp's backing for III-V concentrator systems when outlining the company's future vision of photovoltaics. By Michael Hatcher, editor of Compound Semiconductor

Hyperion OpticsLASEROPTIK GmbHMad City Labs, Inc.HÜBNER PhotonicsSPECTROGON ABPhoton Lines LtdCeNing Optics Co Ltd
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