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Expansive Zygo aims for life science applications

10 May 2011

The precision optics and instrumentation company reports a strong increase in sales and launches new surface metrology products.

Zygo Corporation has reported a 58% increase in revenues for its third fiscal quarter of 2011, compared with the same period last year – thanks to fast-growing business in both its metrology and precision optics divisions.

At $40.2 million, revenues for the latest quarter were also up 11% on a sequential basis, with Zygo able to deliver a net profit of $4.5 million. For the equivalent period last year, since when Zygo has acquired the highly regarded ASML Optics business, the Connecticut-based company had posted a net loss of $2.7 million.

Thanks to the expansion and improved business conditions, Zygo has now registered a 48% increase in revenues for the first nine months of fiscal 2011, and a net profit of $12.9 million as margins hit their highest level for a decade.

Although bookings in the latest quarter were slightly down sequentially, from $46.4 million to $41.7 million, CEO Chris Koliopoulos highlighted a still-strong book-to-bill ratio in both of Zygo’s core businesses, and an order backlog at its highest level for more than two years.

The company has not been impacted by the recent events in Japan, and has now completed the integration of the former ASML division based in Richmond, California, for which it paid $7.1 million in cash.

Looking forward, Koliopoulos said that demand was increasing from a number of different application sectors, including automotive manufacturing and defense – Zygo sells both optical components such as sapphire windows used in surveillance, as well as nanometer-precision optical profilers for high-end metrology. The CEO also described the life sciences sector as “fertile”, and expects to see an increase in activity and demand for metrology products in the coming months.

Among the company’s latest products are a new rapid optical profiler that is suited to harsh industrial environments and high-volume production. The system does away with a stylus method used previously, and which was unsuitable for some applications because the stylus could scratch certain high-precision components. Zygo is also about to launch a new LED-based interferometer product for measuring transparent optics with sub-nanometer resolution.

Geographically, Zygo has been busy in India, where it has set up a new sales structure in anticipation of what it sees as a fast-growing local market, while demand from China is also said to be strong. During the latest quarter, it booked orders from China for large metrology systems to be used in optical component testing – as well as a $3 million follow-on order for amplifiers to be used in laser fusion research in France.

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