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Photonics companies report mixed financial results

Optoelectronics company Jenoptik has reported revenue of €600 million for the first time in the company’s history, for the fiscal year 2013. The increase in revenue on the prior year came to approximately three per cent.

This contrasted with Rofin-Sinar Technologies, developer and manufacturer of laser beam sources and laser-based solutions, which saw a decrease of 15 per cent in net sales over the first quarter of fiscal year 2014, as compared to 2013. LightPath Technologies, optical products manufacturer, also reported slight decreases in revenue for the first half of fiscal 2014 compared to the previous year.

Jenoptik Group's fourth quarter was its strongest in the 2013 fiscal year. ‘The 2013 fiscal year was a good one for Jenoptik. We have grown successfully and achieved our targets without compromising on the significant investment required to secure the future of Jenoptik,’ said Jenoptik CEO Michael Mertin.

Jenoptik's lasers and optical systems segment was affected by the weakness in the semiconductor equipment market, particularly in the first half-year and stronger sales in the life science market in the second half of the year. Revenue in the segment came to approximately €225 million (prior year €212.3 million), and the EBIT to approximately €25 million (prior year €27.1 million). This was due to a modified product mix, start-up costs for new products and the expansion of international distribution.

Jenoptik's metrology segment benefited from demand from the automotive industry, in particular for new measurement techniques for low-emission engines, and from deliveries for projects relating to traffic safety. Jenoptik entered the Australian market in early 2013, a highlight of this move being a service agreement running over several years in the field of mobile speed monitoring. According to preliminary figures, the segment achieved a slight increase in revenue to approximately €187 million (prior year €182.7 million).

Rofin-Sinar Technologies announced that net sales totalled $121.2 million for the first quarter of 2014, a 15 per cent decrease over the first quarter of fiscal year 2013. Gross profit totalled $41.3 million, compared to $50.1 million in 2013. The diluted price per share calculation equalled $0.08 for the quarter, compared to $0.32 for the same period last fiscal year.

Sales of laser products for macro applications increased by one per cent to $49.1 million. A decrease in sales for marking and micro applications decreased by 27 per cent to $56 million. And, sales of components also decreased by four per cent to $16.1 million.

From a geographical perspective, revenues in North America decreased by eight per cent, totalling $24.6 million, whereas net sales decreased marginally by two per cent in Europe, to $59.5 million, and by 33 per cent in Asia, to $37.1 million.

‘We expect European and North American business conditions to improve throughout the calendar year,’ said Gunther Braun, CEO and president of Robin-Sinar Technologies. ‘During fiscal year 2014, we should capitalise on our efforts to optimise the cost structure of our fibre laser portfolio to the benefit of our profitability, and new product introductions in the short pulse technology space should help us to grow the business.’

LightPath reported that its total revenue was approximately $5.72 million compared to $5.81 million for the first half of fiscal 2013. However, this was partly due to increases in travel costs to the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary that will operate a manufacturing facility in the Jiangsu province of China, which is set to triple the company’s global manufacturing production capacity. The gross margin as a percentage of revenue in the first half of fiscal 2014 was 45 per cent, up from 42 per cent in the first half of fiscal 2013. 

LightPath Technologies expects that growth in sales for the next several quarters will derive primarily from the precision moulded lens product line, driven by the telecommunications sector’s need for expanded infrastructure to support mobile internet demand; the industrial tool sector; demand for fibre laser delivery systems; and entry into the digital projection market. Infrared products, now being designed and introduced, are expected to accelerate the company’s growth further, beginning with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 and throughout fiscal 2015. 

For 2014, Jenoptik intends to invest in the expansion of its distribution structures and products, and to further streamline internal processes. At present, the company is anticipating revenue growth of between 5 and 10 per cent for the 2014 fiscal year.

For the second quarter ending March 31 2014, Rofin-Sinar Technologies expects revenues to be in the range of $123 million to $128 million, and earnings per share to be in the range of $0.08 to $0.12.

Rofin has also recently purchased the patent rights from Imra America, an ultrafast laser company, concerning taking advantage of ultrafast lasers for micromachining. The patent family was invented by Gerard Mourou and colleagues while at the University of Michigan and is licensed to Imra from the University.

Takashi Omitsu, president of Imra, commented: 'We believe our intellectual property and technical strengths will aid Imra and Rofin together to further advance fibre and ultrafast laser products and their applications.'

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