Amid losses, longtime ProPhotonix CEO Mark Blodgett steps down from post

Blodgett led the Salem-based company for nearly 25 years, though its heyday as StockerYale Inc. in the 1990s

ProPhotonix Limited CEO Mark Blodgett announced his resignation Friday after revealing the company’s long-awaited but “disappointing” results from 2012 – including a doubling of net losses and an 18 percent revenue slide — that have left the company with little cash and the shareholders with even less equity.

Yet Blodgett assured investors that he is leaving the Salem company to his successor — current chief financial officer Tim Losik — in good shape. Bookings and backlog are up, and this year got off to a better start than last, he said.

Blodgett led the company for nearly 25 years, though its heyday as StockerYale Inc. in the 1990s, when its stock peaked at nearly $40 a share. Over the following years, however, the company’s stock was delisted from the Nasdaq exchange, it moved operations overseas and changed its name, all while still maintaining its headquarters in Salem.

Today, ProPhotonix shares mainly trade for about 2 euros on the London Stock Exchange, though they are also traded over the counter in the United States for a few cents a share.

The company – which now concentrates on an LED manufacturing business in Ireland and laser module production and laser diode distribution in England – suffered losses for most of the last decade but has always found investors and financial backers willing to bet on a steady revenue stream.

But last year, both revenues and profits were down substantially. Sales fell 18 percent, to $13.9 million. LED revenue decreased 30 percent, to $6 million. Blodgett blamed the dramatic decline in sales of LED systems to solar equipment manufacturers, which accounted for 85 percent of that revenue stream. But the company’s bread and butter – lasers — was also down 6 percent, to $7.9 million.

That translates into a net loss of $2.9 million (4 cents a diluted share), more than double the company’s 2011 loss of $1.4 million.

Even if the company ignored such GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principle) requirements as depreciation, interest and stock-based compensation, it still lost $2.6 million. In 2011, it broke even under using such a measurement.

The company’s total assets at the end of last year were $7 million, down from $10 million in 2011, with only $1.3 million in cash, down from $4 million. With current liabilities of $6.1 million, the stockholders only have $670,000 in equity in the company, compared to $3.6 million at the end of the previous year.

There are some bright spots. Blodgett said that during the first four months of 2013, bookings totaled $6.2 million, a $1.3 million increase over the equivalent period last year, and the backlog totaled $6.6 million, up 25 percent.

The company also said it hoped that distribution agreement with Oclaro Inc. and a partnership with Osram to sell diode lasers will boost sales going forward.

While the company did not announce any financing deal, it did point to several proposals and said it expects to close on one or more in the “very near future.”

However, without such a deal, ProPhotonix’ operations would be “severely constrained,” the company said.

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