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Business Briefs

16 Feb 2007

Including news from Alcatel-Lucent, Tessera Technologies, Flir Systems, US Display Consortium, Plextronics, Research And Markets (Chinese Solar Cell and Solar Panel), Optomec, Infinera, Little Optics, Qioptiq, McPherson, Gelcore/Lumination, EuroLED 2007, ASML Holdings and others.

• Following the announcement of 12 500 job cuts worldwide to take place over the next three years, Alcatel-Lucent has been meeting representatives of the Dutch Works Council and unions to discuss how the company's plans will affect employees in the Netherlands. A-L believes that the combination of its "original synergy plan", set to make savings of €1.4 billion, and further cost reductions will achieve a total saving of €1.7 billion in three years. "Up to 180 staff will be going over the next 24 months," said Coert de Boer, managing director for the Netherlands. Currently, A-L employs some 700 people in the country.

Tessera Technologies, a developer of miniaturization technologies, has announced results for both its Q4 and year ended 31 December 2006. Highlights of the Q4 included total revenue of $50.3 million; royalties and licence fees of $34.8 million; payments for past production of $5.5 million; and product and service revenues of $10.0 million. For the year 2006, Tessera's revenue of $208.7 million included $99.6 million in royalties and licence fees and was up 120% on 2005. Tessera also plans to acquire Eyesquad, a developer of solid-state auto-focus and optical-zoom solutions for camera phones, and other camera-integrated products.

Flir Systems has announced that net earnings for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2006 increased 16% to a record $39.8 million, compared to net earnings for Q4 2005 of $34.1 million. Revenue for the 2006 Q4 increased 19% to $185.9 million ($156.2 million for Q4 2005). The operating margin in Q4 06 was 29.6% (29.5% in 05). For the 12 months ended 31 December 2006, earnings rose 11% to a record $100.9 million ($90.8 million in 2005). Revenue for 2006 was $575.0 million ($508.6 million in 2005). The operating margin for 2006 was 23.8% (24.8%). "We are pleased with our Q4 and full-year 2006 performance," said Earl Lewis, Flir's president and chief executive officer. More Flir background at optics.org.

• The US Display Consortium (USDC) and Plextronics have announced that the latter has been awarded "Phase II funding" as an $1.8 million contract. This contract supports the continued development of Plexcore technology to increase the lifetime and efficiency of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. The partners will continue to share project costs. The objective of Phase II is to expand Plexcore HIL development to enable commercial performance of small molecule organic light-emitting diode (SMOLED) displays.

• Market analyst Research and Markets has published its new Market Survey of Chinese Solar Cell and Solar Panel Manufacturers. The report covers key market trends in sales (2006) and capacities (to 2007) as well as company profiles. It covers 25 solar-cell manufacturers and 131 panel manufacturers. Findings are based on direct telephone interviews with the directors or chief executive officer's in each company. The number of Chinese cell and panel manufacturers in China is "exploding", R&M says.

Optomec has announced that Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in Kyungbuk, Korea, took delivery of its LENS (Laser Engineered Net Shaping) system at the end of January. POSTECH selected the LENS system to rapidly prototype new steel alloys for the automotive industry.

Infinera has acquired Little Optics, an innovator in planar lightwave circuits, to add additional pioneering technology to Infinera's Digital Optical Networking architecture. Based in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, US, Little Optics has pioneered the development of integrated optical devices using planar lightwave technology and proprietary glass materials to deliver photonic integration that is designed to be superior to traditional planar lightwave technology.

Qioptiq has secured a contract to supply the Australian Defence Forces with its VIPIR-2 Thermal Weapon Sight. The contract, which supports the Land125 Soldier Enhancement Programme and covers VIPIR-2 Thermal Weapon Sights, spares and support, was placed by Thales Australia who will act as prime contractor to the Australian Defence Forces. The purpose of the programme is to develop and acquire enhanced capabilities for the Australian combat soldier.

McPherson, a manufacturer of vacuum-compatible instrumentation for measuring wavelengths of light, has received a contract from the Chinese HL-2A Tokamak at the Southwestern Institute of Physics, based in ChengDu, China. McPherson is delivering a vacuum ultraviolet spectrometer to the research group led by Zhengying Cui, who leads efforts in VUV diagnostics of the fusion research programme at HL-2A. The research group uses the McPherson VUV spectrometer system to diagnose the tokamak fusion plasma in the 30–180 nm region to learn more about spectral features related to carbon and oxygen emission.

GE Consumer & Industrial has renamed its LED solutions business, formerly GELcore as Lumination. The new name reflects the fast-growing business unit's vision of "imagination with light", the company announced.

euroLED 2007, the fourth annual solid-state lighting conference and exhibition, will be the biggest yet, with more exhibitors, speakers and participants than before, the organizer is predicting. The show, dedicated to all aspects of high-brightness LEDs and solid-state lighting, will take place at the UK's National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham from 5–7 June 2007.

• Help wanted: ASML Holding (ASML) is seeking an additional 300 engineers and technicians to join the company in the Netherlands as it advances semiconductor lithography technology. Outside of Europe, ASML plans to hire 100 new employees each for its US and Asian operations. "ASML continues to achieve consistent growth, driven by demand for our products. As a result, we are seeking the best and brightest engineering and scientific talent we can find for our campus in Veldhoven, the Netherlands," said Adriaan Lanser, director of resources and talent management of ASML. The company has also launched a "virtual cleanroom" that provides prospective applicants with a behind-the-scenes view of the company.

Fibre Industry

Optical Communication Products has announced financial results for its first quarter 2007, ended 31 December 2006. Revenue for Q1 was $17.0 million, a decrease of 4.1% on Q1 2006, and a decrease of 11.0% on revenue of $19.1 million for Q4 2006. Its backlog at 31 December 2006 was $7.0 million compared to $8.6 million at 30 September 2006. Gross margin for the first quarter of fiscal 2007 was 18.8% compared with 35.6% for Q1 2006 and 22.9% for Q4 2006.

Furukawa America (FA) and 3SAE Technologies have announced a new partnership to serve the fusion splicing needs of optical-equipment manufacturers in the Americas. FA's FITEL brand of fusion splicers and equipment forms the core of 3SAE's fusion-splicer equipment offerings, with special emphasis on customers who design, build and mass-produce optical systems and components, and have high-volume factory fusion-splicing requirements. 3SAE will provide a factory authorized fusion-splicer service, equipment customization and speciality splicing support at its facilities located in Franklin, Tenn. US.

Transmode has completed a "record" year for sales during 2006 with an increase in excess of 150%, the company announced this week. Sales were primarily driven by a strong demand for optical networks for voice, broadband and TV services. The company's turnover exceeded $50 million. "We are starting the new fiscal year with an exceptional 2006 behind us. Our customer base has also increased by over 40% during the period," said Rune Hurtig, chief executive officer at Transmode.

Prysmian Telecom Cables & Systems has secured a contract to supply more than 2000 km of optical ground wire cable to Venezuela. The contract was signed at the end of 2006 between Prysmian Telecomunicacoes Cabos e Sistemas, Brazil and Chinese company Zhongxing Telecom Equipment (ZTE), which will install the cables on the high-voltage (up to 400 kV) network of CADAFE, the Venezuelan state electrical utility.


Bookham this week announced that the board of directors and Giorgio Anania have mutually agreed that Anania will step down from his position as Bookham's president and chief executive officer, and resign his seat on the board of directors, effective immediately. Peter Bordui, the company's current non-executive chairman of the board of directors, has assumed the position of president and chief executive officer on an interim basis. "Under Giorgio's leadership, the company completed its IPO and successfully transitioned from being a niche supplier of silicon photonics to a leading supplier of telecom optical components," said Bordui.

• For an in-depth analysis of the resignation, "Bookham CEO Anania cuts and runs", written by Michael Hatcher, editor of Compound Semiconductor, click here.

Optima Research has announced the appointment of Michael Johnson as Technical Sales Engineer. He will be involved in sales and technical support of Zemax. "Mike's academic and industrial background will help us continue to deliver the high-quality service Zemax users expect, said Neil Barrett, general manager of Optima Research.

L-3 Communications has named Susan Opp a corporate vice-president and president of its Communication Systems-West division. Opp assumes the role previously held by Curtis Brunson before his recent appointment to senior vice-president of corporate strategy and development. CS-West provides high-performance wideband communication systems for the US Department of Defense and other government agencies.

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