Star performer

This week e2v Technologies confirmed its status as a major player in hi-tech electronic components and sub-systems when it passed £100m in group sales for the first time.

The company, which joined the Stock Exchange exactly a year ago, supplies niche markets within the medical, scientific, aerospace and defence sectors, as well as more general commercial and industrial customers.

According to its maiden annual results statement, one of the strongest areas for e2v was high performance imaging products for medical and science applications, where a sales increase of 23 per cent was recorded. Over the last three years the company has enjoyed a three-fold boost in this sector.

This growth has stemmed predominantly from the dental sector, with customers in the US and Europe requiring increased volumes of e2v’s digital dental X-ray imaging device. This technology offers virtually real-time imaging, as well as lower radiation exposure than traditional filmbased systems.

There was also a further growth of 15 per cent on products supplied to instrument manufacturers servicing the needs of life science companies working on drug discovery, shareholders were told.

The robust performance in medical and science was mirrored in the space and astronomy sectors, where e2v benefited from involvement in a number of key European programmes. Following the conclusion of the development phase of ESA’s GAIA star-mapping programme, e2v announced it has secured a e14.3m (£9.5m) contract for the first phase of the production element of the project.

Slated for launch in 2011, the European space telescope will make the largest ever map of the galaxy, and much of the key technology for the instruments is being developed by e2v. The company has created around 170 individual eight-megapixel devices which, when placed side by side, will form the biggest focal plane array ever built.

Sales of e2v’s L3Vision device — primarily used for surveillance applications — reached over £1m this year, representing a ten-fold increase in sales from 2004.

Despite a predicted reduction in sales of the Argus fire-fighters’ thermal imaging camera, which benefited last year from a strong UK government procurement programme, e2V’s sensors product group sales grew by 9.1 per cent to £48.1m.

Keith Attwood, e2v chairman said: ‘Our first full set of results as a listed company show that good progress has been made, despite the challenges of a weak US dollar. ‘Our two businesses — sensors and electronic tubes — have developed in line with our expectations with our sensors business performing particularly strongly.’