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03 Nov 2008

Featuring news from Newport, JDSU, NanoMarkets, Corning, Zygo and more.

Newport reported a loss of $1.1 million in Q3 2008, compared with a $5.5 million profit in the equivalent quarter last year. Sales fell by 3.6% to $105 million, attributed to weak macroeconomic conditions in the company's target markets and in particular continuing weakness in the semiconductor equipment sector. Orders from photovoltaic customers rose slightly during the quarter, however, reaching $8.5 million. New orders from the photovoltaic sector amounted to over $30 million during the first three quarters of 2008, according to the company.

• Falling revenues from JDSU's commercial lasers and optical communications businesses contributed to an overall decrease in revenues of 2.5% to $380.8 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009. Operational changes and improved margins allowed the company to reduce its operating loss to $16.6 million from the $21.5 million reported for the same period last year.

• The total market for OLEDs is poised to grow rapidly and will reach $2.7 billion by 2015, according to a new report. Recent announcements by Nokia, GE and Sony of advances in OLED performance and manufacturing techniques are positive for materials suppliers in the sector, especially in lighting and television applications. Despite this maturity there is still plenty of room for smaller innovative firms to create materials tailored to specific applications and manufacturing processes. Areas with particular potential are hybrid polymer/small molecule approaches, novel forms of doping, and new types of materials for solution-processed OLEDs. OLED Materials Markets 2008 has been prepared by NanoMarkets.

Spectranetics reported revenues of $26.8 million for Q3 2008, a rise of 26% compared with the third quarter of the previous year, although pre-tax income fell from $844,000 to $615,000 over the same period. The worldwide installed base of the company's excimer laser systems for use in minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures rose by 25 to 825 during the quarter. A US federal investigation into some aspects of the use of excimer technology was announced during the quarter, and the company indicated that it is cooperating fully and foresees no long term issues.

• Overall sales for Corning in the third quarter of 2008 were unchanged from the equivalent period last year at $1.56 billion, but the company's results indicated the accelerating decline in demand in the displays business. Third-quarter sales for Corning's Display Technologies segment were $696 million, a 14% sequential decline and flat compared to the third quarter of 2007. The company indicated that the decline may accelerate during the fourth quarter, and that it had initiated actions to reduce capital spending and scale back some manufacturing operations.

Alfalight, a manufacturer of high-power diode lasers, has received a $1.36 million contract from the US Army Research Laboratory to develop an advanced 1 kW laser diode pump source. The 12-month programme, entitled High Brightness Diode Sources II, aims to demonstrate 1 kW of 975 nm narrowband, wavelength-locked diode laser light coupled into a 600 µm, 0.22 NA fibre. If successful, the new design will require less demanding manufacturing tolerances and fewer optical components to scale power, allowing products to be more cost-effective and robust compared to fibre-coupled bars, according to an Alfalight statement.

Zygo announced sales of $38.4 million and net income of $0.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009, as compared with net sales of $31.7 million and a net loss of $0.9 million for the same quarter of last year. The sales increase was driven primarily by the company's metrology division which contributed 72% of total revenues, although business in the display systems and instruments segments was also said to be strong. Weakness in the global economy impacted both sales and orders in the quarter, according to the company, which also indicated that the recently announced merger with ESI would help support further growth even in the current climate.

Heraeus Quarzglas, a producer of quartz components headquartered in Germany, has acquired the quartz business of Saint-Gobain Quartz, UK. The acquisition includes three former Saint-Gobain Quartz locations in Korea, Japan and UK as well as sales activities in North America. The new company will operate under the name of Heraeus Quartz UK. The acquisition closes a gap in the Heraeus product portfolio and supports the growth strategy for the Asia market, according to a Heraeus statement.

Kopin, a US developer of liquid-crystal displays and III-V products, announced third-quarter results that reflected the company's strategy of focusing on military and other higher-margin products rather than low-end consumer electronics. Revenue from military display applications more than doubled year-on-year during the quarter as a result of the company's participation in several US military programs. These activites helped to boost total revenues for the quarter by 5% to $30.7 million. A further increase in military shipments for 2009 is predicted.

• An agreement between Bystronic glass and the Laser Processing Systems unit of Jenoptik's Lasers & Material Processing division will see the companies cooperate on development of production facilities for thin-film solar cells. The first results of the collaboration is a new product line which combines the processes used in laser edge deletion and laser glass cutting, based on the thermal laser beam separation process developed by Jenoptik. See also Jenoptik looks to solar for future growth.

SCHOTT, an international technology group based in Germany which manufactures fibre optic light and image guides, has acquired 70% of Moritex Corporation, Japan. Moritex develops LED and fibre optic technology, as well as optical imaging for machine vision systems. The deal is intended to ensure that the companies can compete internationally and generate stable growth, through the combination of SCHOTT's strength in the US and Moritex's position in Asia, according to a joint statement.


• Gary Churchill has been appointed Eastern regional manager by Fiberguide Industries, a US manufacturer of optical fibre. He will be responsible for presenting and selling Fiberguide's products and services to customers east of the Mississippi river. Churchill will also be responsible for worldwide sales of all specialty optical fibres.

Meko, a market research and consultancy specialist for the European electronic display market, has appointed Paul Butler as analyst director. Butler has 20 years' experience in the European display industry, along with time spent working in Taiwman.

ABTechSPECTROGON ABPhoton Lines LtdLASEROPTIK GmbHCeNing Optics Co LtdLaCroix Precision OpticsECOPTIK
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