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12 May 2008


IPG overcomes diode laser yield issues

For first-quarter 2008, IPG Photonics Corp of Oxford, MA, USA, which makes high-power fiber lasers and amplifiers, has reported revenue of $52.9m (up 27% on $41.8m a year ago), driven by sales of fiber lasers for materials processing applications (up 34% to $44.2m) and strong sales to European and Asian markets. In particular, pulsed laser sales grew 73% year-on-year, driven by strong demand for marking and photovoltaic (solar) applications.

“Strong shipments in the European Union and continued expansion into the high-growth markets of Russia, India, China and South Korea more than offset the softness we experienced in the US, which accounts for only 18% of our sales,” says CEO Dr Valentin Gapontsev.

Operating expenses grew from $8.3m a year ago to $11.9m (mainly due to sales and marketing expenses growing from $1.9m to $3.1m). Nevertheless, net income has grown from $6.6m to $8.1m.

“The growing acceptance of fiber lasers across a variety of applications, combined with our presence in the major markets for industrial lasers across the globe, resulted in another quarter of strong top- and bottom-line growth,” says Gapontsev.

Gross margin has grown from 43% last quarter to 46%, due to higher absorption of fixed costs as a result of improved yields and increased production, part of which resulted in an increase in inventories. “We have overcome the production issues which impacted diode yields in the fourth quarter of 2007,” adds Gapontsev.

IPG has been expanding production of its GaAs-based laser diodes using two GEN200 MBE cluster tools (in 4x4”-wafer configuration) ordered from Veeco Instruments in March 2007 (joining a GEN200 bought in 2006). The laser diodes were developed for use in IPG’s industrial fiber lasers, but the firm also started selling the PLD Series of fiber-coupled pulsed laser diodes (with an output power of over 20W) on a merchant basis to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers in January. The expansion is due for completion in Q3/2008.

“In international markets, we continue to see robust growth from existing OEMs, new customers and our presence in key high-growth Asian markets,” says Gapontsev. “In the US and elsewhere, we are seeing substantially increased order flow in materials processing and telecommunications from the beginning of the year. Some of these orders will ship in the second quarter and the remainder is expected to ship during the following six to nine months.”

For second-quarter 2008, IPG expects revenues of $52-56m (up 23% year-on-year).

See related items:

IPG acquires photonics patent portfolio from BT

IPG Photonics orders two Veeco GEN200 systems to expand GaAs-based laser production

Search: High-power fiber lasers

Visit: www.ipgphotonics.com