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Technology Stocks : Lightpath Technologies: LPTH New WDM player
LPTH 1.320+2.3%3:57 PM EDT

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To: jkc who wrote (1196)9/26/2000 10:28:52 AM
From: jkc  Read Replies (1) of 1218
ABQ Tribune article on lp. Nice. (from Yahoo board)

LightPath reflects optic-market success
By Sue Vorenberg
Tribune reporter

Don't be surprised if LightPath Technologies Inc. makes the leap to the Trib 8 next year.
The company is bursting at the seams, capitalizing on its solid niche in the booming telecommunications market. From 25 employees last year, it's exploded to more than 150. And the stock price has run up until its market capitalization has reached $1 billion.
"I think this will be the year that we go in the black," said Boyd Hunter, director of technical consulting and business development. "That's my personal bet. A year ago, to say that would happen in fiscal 2000 would have evoked questions about what illicit drugs I'd been taking. This year that won't happen. There's all sorts of wonderful stuff going on, and I'm more encouraged than ever about the possibilities."
The 15-year-old company has always focused on its niche market of Gradium glass products, which reflect light in a unique way. LightPath stepped into the telecommunications market about two years ago, a decision that put LightPath on the map.
The market was watching. From a low of $3.12 in October 1999, the company's stock price rocketed to $69.50 in March. Most recently it's leveled off around $45.
"The truth is, that jump came not only for LightPath but for the entire telecom sector," Hunter said. "It wasn't a case of LightPath being discovered. This is happening because of the tremendous need to move data on the Internet."
LightPath's main telecommunications products are collimators, light-bending lenses that allow light to be rerouted through fiber-optic cables. In addition, the company is beta testing a new fiber-optic switch it hopes to start producing early next year. The new switch is used in test equipment and protective devices for fiber-optic networks, and so far it has generated much interest at trade-show demonstrations this year.
"There's actually a great deal of demand for our new switches," Hunter said. "Initially I wondered about that, but people are building all sorts of devices to build out their networks, and we've had strong interest from people wanting hundreds and thousands of these at a time. Even when I tell people they can't have them for nine months, they're still lining up. In this business, people are begging for anything they can get their hands on because that basically determines the capacity they can provide."
In fact, Hunter said, the company is expecting to sell as much product as it can produce in the next year. In June, LightPath leased an additional 17,000-square-foot facility and built a 5,000-square-foot clean room. It's added employees and equipment as quickly as possible.
"I personally wouldn't be surprised if we had the same kind of growth next year," Hunter said. "Our hiring may only be slowed by our ability to bring new facilities and space online."
LightPath is in the process of acquiring Geltech Inc., a Florida company that makes optical components for the telecom industry, for 823,000 shares of LightPath stock.
"Yes, we get to print our own money," Hunter joked. "We're acquiring Geltech for about $27 million in our stock."
The acquisition will add about 100 employees.
In April, the company also acquired California-based Horizon Photonics Inc. for $36.2 million in stock and cash. LightPath also has about a 15 percent equity stake in New Hampshire-based LightChip Inc., an optical networking company.
LightPath has started to attract national attention, said Gene Grant, vice president of economic development for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.
"These guys are the deal," Grant said. "They're expanding. They're one of those up and comers here in Albuquerque that I think are typical of new economy companies that are going to do great things. I recently had a guy from Florida call and ask me about them. It was great to talk to him and boast about this company. I'm bullish about LightPath. The market space is just incredible. It's a hot, hot category, and I think that really bodes well for the talent we have here."


Albuquerque Tribune Online: Business Albuquerque Tribune Online: Business
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