Orbotech turns to $0.7 million loss in Q4

Firm isn't optimistic about market improving in first half of 2002
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Orbotech (Nasdaq:ORBK) posted a $700,000 loss in Q4 2001.

Analysts had hoped the company would post a profit in the bottom line, even if only symbolic one. They had also hoped that revenue would rise over the third quarter. But even excluding relatively substantial one-time charges, Orbotech posted a net loss, and a 4.5% drop in revenue, compared to Q3 2001.

Orbotech develops solutions for the electronics industry supply chain.

President and CEO Yochai Richter said the firm does not expect market conditions to get better in the first half of this year.

Revenue for the fourth quarter decreased to $58.9 million, 44% less than in the parallel quarter of 2000. The average forecast was $62 million. Losses came to $700,000 or 2 cents per share, compared with the forecast 1 cent earnings per share.

In the fourth quarter of 2000 Orbotech posted an all-time record profit of $22.7 million, or 70 cents per share.

One-time expenses came to $21 million in the fourth quarter. The expenses include $1.7 million reorganization costs and additional job cuts, and $7 million inventory write-offs. Orbotech also paid $1.2 million to Jenoptik, with which it conducts joint R&D projects.

An additional one-time charge, $14.2 million, was transferred to the Chief Scientist Office at the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The company chose an early payment option on royalties from future sales of products developed with CSO grants.

In addition, Orbotech is committed to directly invest $7 million in three private Israeli firms, through Orbotech Technology Ventures. The fund invested in BioView and Sagitta, and Orbotech itself invested in CoreFlow.