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Business briefs

17 Nov 2008

Featuring news from Jenoptik, Rofin-Sinar, Sofradir, StockerYale and more.

• Despite macroeconomic conditions, Jenoptik Group sales for the first nine months of fiscal 2008 rose by 6.1% to €397million ($503 million). A significant factor was the performance of the company's Defence & Civil Systems segment, which was able to significantly increase earnings as a result of higher sales. This growth helped to offset the downturn in the Lasers & Optical Systems segment, impacted by the global weakness in the semiconductor equipment market. Jenoptik does not currently foresee any early recovery in the semiconductor sector, according to a company statement.

Rofin-Sinar described its fourth-quarter results as better than expected and it reported strong demand from some electronics and solar cell industries, in line with other companies operating in the same markets. However, the effects of the slowdown in industrial markets and fluctuations in exchange rates will impact the company's first-quarter business, it warned. Fourth quarter revenue rose 18% compared with the same quarter in 2007, to $154.3 million. Full-year sales rose by a similar percentage to $575 million. Sales of lasers for marking and micro applications rose 35% to $82.7 million, and now represent 54% of the company's total revenue. Semiconductor and machine tool markets were slow and made mid-term predictions of performance difficult, the company warned, although the strategy of focusing on emerging industries and regions would continue.

Sofradir has signed a €6.7 million ($10 million) contract with Astrium SAS, a worldwide producer of satellites and space equipment, to supply a custom-made three-band Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) Detector for the Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI), an earth observation instrument onboard the Sentinel-2 satellite. The detector will be used to offer more discrimination of trees, crops, and other environmental elements, including the density of humid air. Sofradir will develop and manufacture a three-band SWIR detector from 1.3 to 2.3 µm for multi-spectral analysis that will be delivered to Astrium SAS in 2010. The contract is being funded by the European Union and the European Space Agency.

Universal Display Corporation reported a loss of $5.3 million for the third quarter of 2008, compared with a loss of $2.9 million for the same period of 2007. The company attributed the loss to a decline in revenue, which fell from $3 million to $2.7 million, along with a reduction in interest income from investments. Developments in the use of UniversalPHOLED technology for white lighting applications during the quarter, including a technology license agreement with Konica Minolta for white lighting, indicated that white lighting would be a potentially lucrative revenue stream in the future, according to a company statement.

StockerYale, a US manufacturer of structured light lasers, LED modules and specialty optical fibres, has received a $2.1 million production order from BAE Systems to supply BAE with lasers for the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasure (ATIRCM) system. ATIRCM is a laser-based infrared countermeasures system that protects aircraft against widely deployed heat-seeking missiles. Production is expected to begin in the first quarter of fiscal 2009. The order follows a series of development contracts between the two companies that began in 2002.

Tessera Technologies has licensed its SHELLCASE MVP image sensor packaging technology to Q Technology Limited (Qtech), China. Qtech manufactures compact camera modules for the mobile phone, notebook computer and security and protection markets. SHELLCASE employs wafer-level chip-scale packaging to deliver smaller form factor packages with enhanced reliability and lower cost for image sensor packaging.

SensL, a US provider of low light sensing solutions, has signed exclusive distribution and representative contracts with several major distributors to increase worldwide sales coverage for its innovative solutions. AMS Technologies AG has been appointed for Germany, Titan Electro Optics Co. for China, and Lastek Pty for Australia. A representative agreement has also been agreed in the USA where Griot Group Inc is to represent SensL exclusively throughout the Western United States.

MaxxVision has been appointed as distributor for Frankfurt Laser Company's range of laser diodes and related products to the machine vision market in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The company already distributes cameras, frame-grabbers, LED lighting and special optic components, and is the exclusive distributor for Sony cameras in its territories.

People

• Charles Cuneo has been appointed president of JPSA, taking over from founder Jeffrey Sercel who will continue as chairman and chief technology officer. Cuneo's career has included management positions at several technology and software companies, along with the position of COO at Gibson Guitars.

• Des Gibson has been appointed a non-executive director of Fibre Photonics, a UK manufacturer of fibre optic probe technologies for environmental monitoring, chemical analysis and process control applications. His appointment will support the company's plans to grow through strategic supply chain development, market development, and the establishment of technical collaborators, according to the company. Gibson brings 25 years experience in optoelectronics, including tine at RTC Systems, Applied Multilayers and other companies in optical and thin film industries.

 
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