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19 August 2006


Synova raises $8m for micromachining centers

Synova of Lausanne, Switzerland, which supplies Laser MicroJet systems for wafer dicing based on a high-power water-jet-guided laser beam, has raised CHF10m ($8.1m) in debt financing (mainly from Swiss banks).

The funds will be used to develop micromachining centers (MMCs) in key high-tech regions worldwide. With more than 50 full-production systems at 30 customer sites, the centers will provide quick, responsive local support, as
well as application labs offering on-site product demonstrations.

Synova's technology is already qualified in the electronics market. At July's Semicon West event, it announced that its first MMC will open in Silicon Valley in January, headed by Joseph Battaglia (former field sales and marketing development manager for North America at EFD/Nordson Corp) and containing the most recent Laser MicroJet tools (an LDS 300 A and an LCS 300). Future MMCs will open in 2007 and 2008.

"Laser MicroJet has experienced phenomenal traction in recent years, and our global expansion efforts are aligned with the market's demand for innovative cutting technology," said CEO Bernold Richerzhagen. Synova believes the local MMCs will help it to further penetrate not only the semiconductor wafer-dicing market but also burgeoning, precision-centric sectors such as inkjet print-head MEMS, hard disk drives (HDDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

According to market research firm IDC, the expected compound annual growth rate for the inkjet print-head MEMS and HDD markets are forecast at 8.8% through 2008 and 15.5% through 2009, respectively. The OLED market is
forecasted to grow at a compound annual rate of 74% by next year alone.

* At April's Semicon Europa event, Synova said it had appointed its first executive management team, responsible for growing business and executing
corporate strategy across global subsidiaries:

  • Martin Achtenhagen (VP R&D, previously a long-wavelength VCSEL senior research associate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and leader of optical amplifier development at JDSU);
  • Phil Durrant (VP, sales and marketing, formerly marketing director at SAW Components Dresden, Germany, where he converted a wafer foundry company into an RF components supplier);
  • Frank Meier (VP operations, formerly of Hewlett-Packard); and
  • Quoc Phong Dang (chief financial officer, formerly a senior consultant at Ernst & Young).

All report to CEO Bernold Richerzhagen.

Visit: http://www.synova.ch