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16 Feb 2009

Rofin-Sinar, Flir, Qioptiq and JDSU are looking for bright spots amid the financial gloom.

Rofin-Sinar announced a 21% year-on-year fall in sales for the first quarter of 2009, with sharp declines across all its markets. Profits fell by 55% to $7.6 million. The company responded by committing itself to a focus on industries and regions that are less vulnerable to the current financial crisis and an optimized portfolio of products.

"Many of the industries we serve are affected by the downturn and there are only few which are relatively stable," commented CEO Gunther Braun to analysts. "Sales across our macro and micro/marking business sectors were less impacted by the downturn, since some industries are less cyclical and solar cell business was still healthy at the beginning of the quarter."

None the less, sales across the combined macro and micro/marking sectors dropped by 14% year-on-year to $54.6 million, and the macro business individually decreased by 32%. The only bright spot in this business sector was Rofin's low-power CO2 laser business, which remained level compared to the last quarter level. "So that is something positive," noted Braun.

Flir Systems was able to paint a rosier picture in its fourth quarter 2008 results, not least since revenues from its Government Systems division rose by 49% as spending on land- and air-based thermal imaging systems remained robust. Total revenues for the quarter of 2008 wee $302 million, an increase of 25% from the same quarter last year. Net income rose from $46 million to $65 million.

The impact of the financial climate was largely confined to one of the company's business areas, according to chairman and CEO Earl Lewis.

"We have seen an impact from the slower economic environment, but we are also affected by the unusually volatile foreign currency exchange rates during Q4," he told analysts. "This impact was almost entirely confined to our thermography business. While our entire community is facing unprecedented challenges, we remain committed to pursuing the proven strategies that have delivered superior long-term results for our shareholders."

• Defence revenues also played in a part in the record turnover for full-year 2008 reported by Qioptiq. Sales for the group, which includes LINOS and Point Source, were $400 million, up by 11% from the previous year's turnover. "Contract wins, particularly in the defence area, were ahead of projected targets," noted CEO Benoit Bazire. "Major contracts were entered into in the US and UK for a number of programs, including thermal vision sights."

The company recently announced the consolidation of its two North American commercial optics operations, Qioptiq Imaging Solutions and LINOS Photonics, into Qioptiq LINOS.

JDSU revenues fell to $357 million in Q2 2009 from $399 million for the equivalent quarter of last year, turning the company's profit of $21 million into a loss of $705 million. The company attributed this primarily to an impairment of goodwill and long-lived assets of nearly $700 million.

Declining demand from semiconductor equipment manufacturing and biomedical customers dragged down revenues from the company's commercial lasers business, which saw revenues drop by over 13% to $18.4 million.

"There is no doubt we are facing challenges amid a current economic backdrop, but I believe we can weather this economic downturn and come out stronger as we continue to focus on simplifying and scaling our business model," commented Tom Waechter, JDSU president and CEO.

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