SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Two nano-imprint lithography rivals--Molecular Imprints Inc. (MII) and Obducat AB--appear to be going in different directions.
MII (Austin, Texas) is hiring and said to be gaining steam, while Obducat (Malmo, Sweden) is struggling and losing money. Other nano-imprint vendors are also struggling amid the current downturn. And for the most part, nano-imprint remains a niche solution rather than a mainstream technology for the production of chips, disk drives and other products.
MII claims that it is bucking the economic trend, however. The company confirmed an expansion plan that includes increasing its workforce with the addition of 30-to-50 employees during 2009. It also plans to expand the scale of its facilities by more than a third.
The company has sold 10 systems in the hard drive industry, including Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) and Fujitsu Ltd. In addition, Sematech, Toshiba and others have ordered tools.
It still remains unclear if privately-held MII is profitable. The company does not report its sales or profits.
Obducat, the nano-imprint leader in terms of market share, is struggling. The company is readying the previously-announced Sindre 400, an automated system for high-volume manufacturing of LEDs. The first commercial system has been ordered and the buyer is Luxtaltek, a Taiwan-based manufacturer of LEDs.
But the delivery of Obducat's Sindre HDD HVM system will not take place in 2009, as previously planned, according to the company in a recent statement. The system is said to be geared for hard disk drives.
It also continues to spill red ink. Group sales for the first quarter recently amounted to 15.4 million SEK ($2 million), compared to 12.1 million SEK ($1.6 million) in the previous period and 71.5 million SEK ($9.4 million) a year ago. It recently posted a loss of 11.7 million SEK ($1.5 million) in the first period, compared to a loss of 9.4 million SEK ($1.2 million) in the previous period and a loss of 28.8 million SEK ($3.8 million) a year ago.
Group sales for 2008 amounted to 71.5 million SEK ($9.5 million), compared to 32.7 million SEK ($4.3 million) in 2007. It recently posted a loss of 28.8 million SEK ($3.8 million) in 2008, compared to a loss of 48.1 million SEK ($6.4 million) in 2007.
Obducat recently proposed a new issue of shares and warrants to yield approximately 74 million SEK ($9.8 million) before issue expenses. The purpose of the issue is to strengthen Obducat's opportunities for the commercialization of its product portfolio.