July 27, 2012—Global photonics leader Coherent (Santa Clara, Calif., U.S.A.) announced promising results in its third fiscal quarter conference call on July 26. Executive vice president and chief financial officer Leen Simonet reported “strong bookings for the quarter” of US$218.9 million, leading to a record backlog for the company of $369.4 million. The backlog was dominated by strong bookings of flat-panel-display (FPD) annealing laser systems.

“We are very pleased with our accomplishments and our financial results,” said Simonet, in spite of a net sales decline of 6.9 percent. The net sales of $196.4 million this quarter was down from $210.0 million the same quarter a year ago, which was a record revenue for the company. Net income for the quarter of $17.2 million was down from a net income of $19.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2011.

Microelectronics and materials processing markets saw solid performance and increases, while the scientific and instrumentation markets saw declines due to government funding reductions and uncertainty. The company’s backlog is 50 percent FPDs.

According to Coherent’s president and chief executive officer, John Ambroseo, the key takeaways from the June quarter include modestly expanded gross margins on a sequential basis and significant orders for FPD annealing laser systems from multiple end users in Japan, Korea and China. “We delivered our first Gen 8 annealing system [in June], which sets a new high water mark for FPD production,” said Ambroseo. “We also shipped our first FPD products from our new Korean facility and our expanded German site.”

These developments are “largely in-line with previously communicated expectations,” and “set the stage for further improvement in gross margin,” said Ambroseo.

Guidance for 4th quarter is for revenue to be in the range from $193 to 196 million. The company expects their full-year capital spend to be 5 percent of sales, and a return to historical spending levels next fiscal year.