(Nasdaq:CAMT) of the

PCB Group

did not grow in the first quarter of 2001 against the previous quarter, though it did well against the parallel.

Its results are fairly reminiscent of the report released by arch-rival



First-quarter 2001 sales leaped 55.1% against the parallel to $16.3 million. CIBC Oppenheimer had predicted $15.8 million in revenues, a number the company managed to surpass.

The company's gross profit margin for the first quarter of 2001 increased to 55% compared to 53.7% for the first quarter of 2000.

Net profit was $3.1 million, up 79% from the parallel but down from the $3.6 million reported for the fourth quarter. Oppenheimer had been hoping for $3.3 million.

Fully diluted earnings per share were 14 cents, 1 cent below Street forecasts. It netted 10 cents per share in the first quarter of 2000.

Camtek Chairman and CEO Rafi Amit, who once said that Camtek would be the last to be impacted by a global crisis, speaks somewhat differently today. But he points out that despite the global slump in the market in general, and in the PCB market in particular, Camtek managed to post a growth of about 1% on revenues in Q4 2000.

Future revenues in Camtek are as vague as they are in a lot of other companies. Amit says that since Camtek's visibility is only for a period of 3-4 weeks, the company can now predict revenues of $13-$16 million in the second quarter of 2001, a forecast which is higher than the revenues in the comparable quarter of the previous year.

Amit hopes Camtek will still be able to beat its forecasts from the beginning of the year, predicting an annual growth of 25%. He adds that in light of the uncertainty Camtek has decided to withdraw from the Chief Scientist's R&D grant program.

Camtek plans, develops, manufactures and markets automated optical inspection (AOI) systems providing yield enhancement solutions for the PCB and advanced substrates industries. The AOI systems the company developed enables users to identify defects in the manufacturing process, and decrease the number of impaired products, while simultaneously increasing production.

The company went public in July of 2000 when it raised $39 million, at $7 per share. Camtek's shares are today traded at $4.2, reflecting a market cap of $94 million.