LightPath Technologies

Optical component manufacturer LightPath Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ-LPTH) has its eye on the prize of three growing markets: glass aspheres (i.e., laser tools and gun sights), specialty optics (such as scientific lasers) and infrared systems (everything from thermal imaging to defense targeting and tracking). And it’s quite a prize too: these markets are expected to grow to an eye-opening $21.7 billion annually by 2014.

While the company’s core business is in molded aspheric lenses (a business segment that operates through a process developed by Corning Inc., which was acquired back in 1994), another “large business opportunity” for LightPath is its infrared molded aspheric lens and assemblies segment. Encompassing such products as gas sensing devices and night vision systems, the company views this area of its business as “the largest opportunity within the infrared market” due to the technology’s growing use in automotive imaging/warning systems and infrared cameras.

Yet another business segment develops products such as isolators, collimators (i.e., narrow light beams) and optical assemblies. LightPath’s production capacity was increased in 2005 with the formation of the wholly-owned subsidiary, LightPath Optical Instrumentation (Shanghai) Co. This business operates out of a 16,000 square foot building in China, while the firm’s main manufacturing plant is located in an even larger facility in Orlando, FL.

Turning its gaze to LightPath’s financials, this advisory notes that the company “has historically struggled to find profitability.” But while annual losses have been reported by the firm for the last several years, LightPath has found the road back to the black, with four straight quarters of profits. The company recently posted a net income of US$217,094, compared with a $518,985 net loss for the same period last year. Success for LightPath appears to lie “in its ability to continue to grow revenues while keeping costs lower.”

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