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Business briefs

25 May 2007

Featuring news from Opnext, Cedip, Illinois Tool Works, Redlake, BAE Systems, Applied Photonics, Optium, Planar Systems, Resolve Optics and others.

• Fourth-quarter and full-year results from Opnext, a US-based laser manufacturer, showed solid revenue growth and three consecutive quarters of profitability, and included its launch as a public company. For Q4 2007 sales of $65.4 million represented an increase of 41.5% over the same quarter in 2006, while net income improved to $1.5 million after a net loss of $2.8 million in Q4 2006. For the whole year sales rose by $71.2 million or 46.9% to $222.9 million, and the net loss of $30.5 million reported last year became a net income of $2.4 million for 2007. The company attributed the improved performance to demand for 10 Gbit/s products and better than expected 40 Gbit/s sales across a broad customer spectrum.

• The European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) has awarded French company Cedip Infrared a contract to supply an IR thermography system for the Tokamak fusion reactor, part of the Joint European Torus (JET) project underway at Abingdon, UK. The system will monitor the plasma temperature inside the reactor through a set of IR endoscopes based on Cedip's Silver camera technology, which operates in the 3-5 µm region.

Illinois Tool Works, a diversified manufacturer of industrial components and equipment, has acquired Cal Sensors, a producer of infrared detectors and emitters located in California. Cal Sensors will continue to operate as an independent company within ITW’s decentralized structure.

• US company Redlake, a supplier of high-speed digital video camera systems, has transferred its MegaPlus line of cameras to sister company Princeton Instruments. Both companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of Roper Industries.

Princeton Instruments has also announced the establishment of a direct sales and marketing office in Beijing, China, which will be supported by a new partnership with Teltec Semiconductor Pacific based in Hong Kong. Teltec Pacific also has local sales and technical support offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Dalian, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Tianjin and in Taiwan.

BAE Systems, UK, has been named sensor subcontractor for Raytheon Technical Services’ Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) Target Cueing System demonstration. Under a $2.3 million contract, BAE will use its Spectral Infrared Imaging Technology Testbed (SPIRITT) to automatically detect, classify, and identify camouflaged and concealed targets based on their spectral signature.

Applied Photonics, a UK manufacturer of laser-based flat panel displays, has announced that its LaserMagic TFT-LCD glass cutting equipment has been used successfully in production at one of world's largest TFT panel suppliers in Taiwan for over six months, and has cut over half a million panels. The Gen 5 In-line system (LM1500) uses lasers to fully separate TFT-LCD glass in one step, eliminating the micro-cracks associated with a mechanical breaking process.

Kailight Photonics, US, a supplier of 40 Gbit/s optical transmission products, has been acquired by Optium, a supplier of optical subsystems for telecom and cable TV industries. The acquisition enables Optium to provide either 40 Gbit/s modules or full line card solutions for 40 Gbit/s applications to customers.

Planar Systems, US, a developer of speciality display systems, has acquired privately-held Runco International for $36.7 million in cash, accelerating the company’s presence in the global custom home-theatre market. The Planar, Runco and Vidikron ranges of home-theater projectors, plasma and LCD video displays, ambient-light-rejection projection screens, video processors and video signal enhancers will be expanded, and will also incorporate Planar’s display engineering developments.

Planar also announced an agreement with graphics processor supplier Nvidia which will see Nvidia’s Quadro graphics solutions bundled with Planar’s Dome diagnostic and clinical medical displays. The partnership supports Planar's strategy to provide high-end displays to specialty markets including the medical imaging industry. The two companies will coordinate their relevant product development cycles in the future.

Resolve Optics has been selected by Channel Systems to develop a UV transmitting zoom lens with a focal length of 80 to 200 mm for use in their digital Cerenkov viewing device (DCVD), used for non-intrusive verification of spent nuclear fuel. The DCVD captures the Cerenkov image of spent fuel, enabling inspectors to differentiate irradiated fuel items from non-fuel items.

Aixtron, Germany, has received an order for two MOCVD reactors from EpiLEDs Technologies, Taiwan, a developer and manufacturer of high brightness LEDs. EpiLEDs has selected two Thomas Swan Close Coupled Showerhead CRIUS 30x2-inch wafer configuration systems, to be used for volume production of high brightness gallium nitride (GaN) based LEDs. These reactors will be installed alongside the company’s existing pair of Aixtron AIX 2600G3 HT reactors in its facility in Tainan, Taiwan.

People

• Henrik Stoltenberg has been appointed group executive vice president of JAI A/S, Denmark, a developer of industrial video cameras and imaging systems. A member of the management team of JAI since 2006, he was previously the company’s CFO.

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