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Business briefs

05 Nov 2007

Featuring news from Newport, Flir, Pirelli, JDSU, Bookham, Powerlase, QPC and others.

Newport reported sales in the third quarter of 2007 of $109 million, a fall of 5% compared to the $114.3 million posted in the third quarter of 2006. Gross profit was $43.6 million, down from $51.1 million in Q3 2006. The company attributed the decreases to lower margins in the lasers division and relatively low sales level throughout 2007. Improving the performance of this division is the company's near-term focus, it stated.

• Growth across all business sectors was reported by Flir, whose total revenue in Q3 2007 rose 43% compared with the equivalent quarter last year to $191.1 million. The developer of thermal imaging systems announced that the quarter set a record for orders, and the company's government systems division saw revenues rise by 70% to $96.9 million.

Flir also announced the acquisition of Extech Instruments, a US supplier of test and measurement equipment, for $40 million. The addition will expand FLIR's access to key distribution channels for its emerging low-price thermography products and also provide access to low-cost manufacturing in Asia, the company stated.

Pirelli will acquire the 12.4% stake in Avanex previously owned by Alcatel-Lucent in a deal valued at €33.4 million ($48 million). The agreement makes Pirelli the main industrial investor in Avanex, a developer of optical modules and components for telecommunications systems, and the companies will collaborate on optical solutions to meet growing demand for broadband applications. Alcatel-Lucent has signed supply agreements with both Pirelli and Avanex for related components. The agreement also strengthens the role of Milan as a telecoms technology hub, due to the presence of R&D centers for all three companies in the area.

JDSU reported net revenue of $356.7 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008, an increase of $38.6 million compared to the equivalent quarter last year. A net loss of $6.9 million represented an improvement over the $17.4 million loss in Q1 2007. Revenues declined in the company's commercial lasers and communications test and measurement sectors, but grew in optical communications. The company stated its intention to focus on continued improvement of its business model.

Bookham announced revenues of $54.3 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008, up 20% from the previous quarter, with sales to Nortel Networks and Cisco each accounting for greater than 10% of the total. The company attributed the growth to success of new product introductions and diversification of the customer base.

• A research partnership between Powerlase, a UK developer of diode-pumped solid-state lasers, and the Center for Advanced Science and Innovation (CASI) of Osaka University, Japan, will focus on thin-film patterning for flat-panel display manufacture. It follows a period of increasingly close ties and shared technical resources between the two organizations.

• A contract worth $750,000 from a US defense customer has been received by QPC Lasers for their high-power fiber-laser pump engines for airborne directed-energy weapons applications. The new contract allows QPC to further refine its Generation III laser technology, stated the company, and will accelerate the development of high-power lasers for military and commercial applications.

• A agreement between Photon and Infrared Optics of India will see the US company's beam profiling instrumentation distributed to India's laser and optics market. The deal recognizes the importance of the region's growing photonics sector, according to Photon.

• A contract worth $1.2 million from the Army Research Laboratory will enable Alfalight to develop laser diode modules with enhanced brightness and reliability. It builds on two previous programs, and according to the US laser manufacturer will lead to the development of high-power arrays that can be fiber-coupled in a cost effective manner.

Zygo's net sales of $31.7 million and net loss of $0.9 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 represented a decline from sales of $41.1 million and a profit of $3.7 million in the equivalent quarter of 2007. Sales were adversely affected by delays in customers' acceptance of several large systems and in late deliveries of key parts from suppliers, according to the company. A decreased demand for lithography OEM products was forecast to continue.

Enablence Technologies, a Canadian developer of planar lightwave circuit-based transceivers for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), aerospace and defense applications, has raised $57.5 million in its first public offering. The net proceeds will be used for working capital, expansion of product lines, vertical integration, research, marketing and general corporate purposes.

Cobolt, a Swedish manufacturer of low-noise DPSS lasers, has moved into a new facility in Stockholm, effectively tripling the company's production capacity. The expansion is said to be due to increasing demand, especially for high power 491 nm and 561 nm sources for fluorescence applications in biotechnology.


• Olaf Jepsen has been appointed European sales manager by Datalase, and will lead promotion of the company's laser imaging solutions in mainland Europe. He will be responsible for market penetration of DataLase's existing product range and initiate targeted introductions of new products.

Schaefter und Kirchhoff GmbHOcean Insight IncPhoton Engineering, LLCLightTrans International GmbHEKSMA OpticsOptikos Corporation Changchun Jiu Tian  Optoelectric Co.,Ltd.
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