2003 1st Quarter Report
To Our Stockholders:
Sales for the first quarter were essentially flat compared to the first quarter of 2002. Earnings improved on a percentage basis but were also basically level with last year. Sales were $2,830,649, 2% over the same period of 2002. Earnings were up by 29% to $29,678 or $.02 per share.
Factors contributing to the flat sales were market softness related to the war and the timing of a container shipment to China. In 2002, that shipment and sale occurred in the first quarter of the year. In 2003, the event should occur in the second quarter.
An important part of our growth strategy for 2003 is the introduction of an improved RapidMask™ photoresist film. In February we acquired from DuPont the exclusive right to manufacture and sell RapidMask in the abrasive etching market. To maximize the unique dry processing features of this film, it was necessary to reformulate it. I am very pleased to say that we are ahead of schedule; the prototype product is exceeding our performance goals and the manufacturing cost of the product has been substantially reduced. We expect to launch this product early in the third quarter, with a further improved product scheduled for later in the year or early in 2004. I believe that the improved RapidMask will cement our leadership position in the abrasive etching market and ensure continuing growth.
Our product development work on new metal engraving technologies is also proceeding and we anticipate product introduction in the second half. We have applied for two patents covering various aspects of this technology.
Our plans for an increased presence in Asia have been temporarily delayed by the SARS epidemic. The first session at our Singapore training center has been postponed until June and the stationing of an Export Manager in South China is on hold until the region is safe.
Overall, our financial position is very strong, our core businesses are growing and we are actively pursuing important new markets.
For the Board of Directors,
William C. Ulland Chairman, President & CEO