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CyberOptics Corporation has reported operating results for the first quarter of 2017 ended March 31. Consistent with previously issued guidance, sales totaled $11.9 million, compared to $19.1 million in the first quarter of 2016. Revenue in the year-earlier period was particularly strong, driven by $2.5 million of sales of MX600 memory module inspection systems, follow-on orders of $4.0 million for SQ3000 3D MRS-enabled automated optical inspection (AOI) systems, and robust orders for legacy and 3D MRS-enabled sensors.
CyberOptics reported a net loss of $214,000 or $0.03 per share in the first quarter of 2017, compared to earnings of $2.3 million or $0.33 per diluted share in the year-earlier period.
"Our first quarter revenue, which was consistent with our previously-issued guidance for this period, reflects the timing of orders and acceptances for 3D MRS-enabled systems and sensors as well as the difficult comparison with last year’s strong first quarter. Order activity for our portfolio of SQ3000 3D AOI system products was solid in the first quarter and we are particularly encouraged by our growing pipeline of opportunities for large projects involving multiple SQ3000 systems. We anticipate that some of these opportunities will generate significant revenue in the second quarter. As a result, we are reaffirming our previous guidance calling for second quarter 2017 sales of $16 to $19 million," Dr. Subodh Kulkarni, president and chief executive officer, commented. "We also continue to believe that we will deliver solid growth for full-year 2017, driven by our 3D MRS-enabled systems and sensors and WaferSense/ReticleSense portfolio for the semiconductor capital equipment market. At the same time, we are making significant progress with a research and development initiative aimed at applying our 3D MRS technology to front-end and mid-end semiconductor inspection, which could have a major impact on our long-term performance."
CyberOptics’ growing pipeline of opportunities for large projects involving multiple SQ3000 systems is driven by the competitive advantages of its disruptive 3D MRS technology platform, which is enabling the company to capitalize upon the growing demand for high-precision inspection. For this reason, CyberOptics believes it can drive its percentage share of the rapidly growing worldwide 3D AOI market into the low double-digits in 2017.
The second quarter and full-year outlook for 3D MRS-enabled sensors is also promising. Sales generated by CyberOptics’ long-term supply agreement with KLA-Tencor are expected to grow strongly as the company’s 3D sensors are now becoming standard on KLA-Tencor back-end semiconductor inspection systems utilizing 3D optical inspection. The company also is optimistic about the outlook for its legacy 2D LaserAlign sensors for traditional OEM customers.
As previously reported, CyberOptics has made continued progress at advancing its MRS-enabled 3D sensor technology. Features of 50 microns, including devices with mirror-like finishes, are being measured consistently in the research lab, and further progress has been made toward measuring sub-50 micron features. This progress is essential for making MRS-enabled 3D sensor technology applicable to mid-end semiconductor inspection within two years and front-end inspection within four years. If this initiative proves to be commercially viable, the available market opportunity for CyberOptics could be significant.
First quarter sales of semiconductor products, primarily the WaferSense/ReticleSense product line, rose 9% year-over-year. In response to customer demand, CyberOptics is developing additional product offerings to address other applications in semiconductor fabs and flat panel display manufacturing. Strong future sales growth is anticipated for the WaferSense/ReticleSense portfolio.
Based upon positive feedback from customer demonstrations and evaluations in such diverse areas as 3D printing, medical devices and cell phone components, the company remains confident that it’s recently introduced CyberGage360 3D Scanning System should become an important contributor to CyberOptics’ long-term sales growth. Toward this end, the company is continuing to strengthen its CyberGage sales channel and demonstrate the system at key industry trade shows. Consistent with previous statements that potential customers are taking longer than initially anticipated to evaluate the functionality and benefits of this general metrology inspection system, no CyberGage sales were recorded in the first quarter. Given the length of the evaluation and sales cycle, CyberOptics is forecasting nominal CyberGage sales in the second quarter and steadily increasing sales growth during the latter stages of 2017.
Kulkarni said: “The majority of our first quarter-end backlog of $10.9 million is expected to ship in the second quarter and we have a promising pipeline of sales prospects for our SQ3000 3D AOI products. As a result, sales of $16-$19 million and a strong earnings rebound are forecasted for the second quarter of 2017 ending June 30. We believe the sales momentum for our 3D MRS-enabled systems and sensors and suite of semiconductor products should continue building during the second half, which would make 2017 another year of solid growth and profitability.”
CyberOptics Corporation is a leading global developer and manufacturer of high precision sensing technology solutions. CyberOptics’ sensors are used in general purpose metrology and 3D scanning, surface mount technology (SMT) and semiconductor markets to significantly improve yields and productivity. By leveraging its leading edge technologies, the company has strategically established itself as a global leader in high precision 3D sensors, allowing CyberOptics to further increase its penetration of key vertical markets. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, CyberOptics conducts worldwide operations through its facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. For more information, click here.