StockerYale sees brighter days

Despite increases in revenue and bright prospects for this year, the cash crunch at StockerYale continues, according to the company’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Salem-based fiberoptics firm had $1.4 million in cash or cash equivalents at the end of 2006 – less than half the amount it had at the end of 2005, with some $2.4 million in short-term debt at the time. The company has since alleviated the cash crunch by selling some $2.3 million in discounted stock to an investment company in the middle of January.

The company’s revenue rose by $1.8 million to $5.9 million during the period, thanks to StockerYale’s purchase of Photonic Products, a British firm, but it still posted a $5.1 million loss in 2006, though that was nearly half the loss it posted in the previous year.

While not predicting a profit this year, the company is expecting increased revenues and improved margins. It has launched two new laser products. The Lasiris PureBeam Fiber-Coupled laser, used in medical applications, was the firm’s largest R&D initiative over the last three years, according to the filing. It also launched the Lasiris PowerLine laser for industrial machine vision and medical applications.

If all goes well, the company expects to add 20 employees to its current 200 head count, with about ten to go into sales and marketing.

The filing also disclosed that Chief Executive Officer Mark Blodgett earned about $500,000 in salary and stock-based compensation in 2006.

Blodgett – who owns about a tenth of the company – and StockerYale are the target of a class action suit over some misleading press releases issued in 2004. In September 2006, a federal judge dismissed StockerYale’s motion to toss out the suit, so the case is still pending. – BOB SANDERS

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