Strategically Blogging

GE Plans to Stop CFL Business

02/01/2016

Since the bans on inefficient light bulbs have been happening around the globe (including in the US starting in 2012), it has made sense that lighting manufacturers have been slowing down on the production of incandescent and halogen bulbs – the least efficient types of bulbs. CFLs were the replacement bulb of choice across many markets, with LEDs making a slow start due to much higher prices. Now, however, we’re beginning to see the shift away from CFLs as well. 

The 2016 Smart Lighting Market

Shonika Vijay 01/27/2016

The hype of the connected lighting or smart lighting or networked lighting or even IoT of lighting has spread throughout the lighting industry as well as the network and technology companies. Nontraditional lighting companies such as SAP, Google, Cisco, Apple, and Microsoft are targeting the lighting landscape through network infrastructure familiar to them and are also partnering with existing lighting players such as Acuity, Philips, Osram and etc. who are familiar with the end-users and regulatory demands of the market.

In the Year of Light, Lasers Started To Really Shine

Allen Nogee 01/19/2016

As everyone is aware, Strategies Unlimited is the leader in both laser research and LED lighting research, and rarely do the applications of these two widely different light “sources” usually overlap. Lasers can be used for illumination tasks such as semiconductor inspection where a laser illuminates a semiconductor wafer when one looks for defects, but when it comes to general illumination of white light used by us humans for vision, this task almost has always been the domain of LEDs, or at least it has until very recently.

Laser Outlook For 2016

Allen Nogee 12/16/2015

There is some fair debate going on now as to whether our worldwide economy is on an upswing or a downswing. But does this really matter to the laser market?  

When Economic Justification of Connected Lighting Becomes Difficult

Shonika Vijay 12/08/2015

Making decisions to change the lighting system of a business are currently conducted by evaluating the listed economic metrics and then deciding if the business will reap tangible benefits for implementing the changes... While connected lighting has been proven to add tangible benefits such as reduced energy consumption there are other nontangible benefits that may be onerous to prove through current economic parameters. 

Those lousy laser company margins

By Tom Hausken
Ever really looked at the margins earned by laser companies? And then looked at margins for companies like Cisco or Google? It's enough to make you weep.

Industrial laser company margins are modest but steady. The net profit margins for the industrial laser companies aren't too bad. Since 2006, gross margins on annual sales for Coherent , IPG Photonics , Newport , and Rofin are mainly in the 40-50% range. Operating margins range from single digits to 30-some percent. The net profit margins are mostly single digits to low teens (Coherent, Newport, and Rofin), while IPG is running lately at about 23%. Trumpf , which sells much more in machine tools than it does merchant lasers, used to have about 9-10% net profit margin, but suffered in the downturn and has recovered in the last fiscal year to 6.7%.

All in all, that's decent It's the telecom component suppliers that are really hurting.

Telecom supplier margins been mostly underwater until only recently. For Finisar , JDS Uniphase , Oclaro , and Opnext, the gross margins are lower, but it's the operating margins and net profit margins that are in the tank. Like, pretty much negative values for annual revenues since 2006. There's some improvement in the last year or so, with positive operating and net profit margins.

Now I know that these numbers are fraught with "yes, buts." These companies are generating cash flow, but their official, GAAP, unadulterated income statements show losses. And a company like JDSU is in multiple businesses. I'm lumping everything together.

Meanwhile, the customers reap the benefits. Now look at the customers. Cisco has gross margins in the 60% range, and net profit margins around 15-20%. That's net. EMC's net margin is running 12% this year. Juniper is 13%. The carriers aren't doing too badly either. AT&T is consistently in the teens and Verizon is in the single digits. And get this: Google's net margin is a running a whopping 27%!

So we know who is getting the margins. It's not the components companies. Nor is it Alcatel-Lucent or Ciena, who have had consistently negative margins too. It's the router and storage companies like Cisco and EMC, and the equipment users like Google and AT&T.

The component suppliers may finally be in positive territory for good. I hope so. It's not right that the customers get margins while the components companies don't.

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