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Skyworks strength keeps Kopin trucking

Key customer pushed epiwafer foundry to growth year in 2008.

III-V epiwafer provider Kopin saw revenues for its compound semiconductor business rise 8 per cent in 2008, thanks largely to the success of its key customer Skyworks Solutions.

Skyworks, which produces GaAs-based power amplifiers and front-end modules for mobile handsets, accounted for more than two-thirds of Kopin's $47 million III-V revenues last year.

Overall, Kopin posted 2008 revenues of $114.8 million, largely thanks to booming sales of its "CyberDisplay" products - which do not feature compound semiconductors - to the US military.

That translated to a net profit of $1.8 million, slightly down on the full-year figure for 2007.

Like other companies supplying the mobile handset industry, however, Kopin has been hit by the economic downturn. In the final quarter of 2008, its III-V product revenues declined 8 per cent sequentially, to $10.9 million.

CEO John Fan told investors that Kopin was taking measures "like any other company" to reduce headcount in the current environment, but also appeared very confident about the long-term future of the company's III-V business.

With no long-term debt and what Fan described as a "strong shift" to higher-end handsets in key markets such as China, the CEO said, "[We] expect to remain a leading supplier for a long time to come."

Ongoing development of HEMT and solar cell technologies at Kopin (see related story) ought to help the epiwafer foundry become less reliant on Skyworks in the longer term, although its interests in the LED business do not appear to be faring so well at the moment.

In the closing quarter of 2008, Kopin recorded a loss of $1.2 million on impairment of loans made to KTC, the Taiwanese LED firm in which it owns a significant equity stake.

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