SOURCE: LightPath Technologies

LightPath Technologies

February 02, 2015 08:30 ET

LightPath Technologies Announces Strategic Growth Initiatives

Past Investments in Manufacturing and Product Development Set Stage for Enhanced Sales/Marketing Activities and Operational Efficiencies; Operating Expense Reductions Estimated to Be 5% to 10% for Fiscal 2016

ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwired - Feb 2, 2015) - LightPath Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPTH) ("LightPath," the "Company" or "we"), a leading vertically integrated global manufacturer, integrator and distributor of proprietary optical components, infrared lenses and high-level assemblies, announced today the implementation of strategic growth initiatives and an organizational optimization plan. Under these plans, the Company will be better positioned to accelerate its revenue growth and profitability, principally by the transition to a technical sales process that leverages the success of its existing demand-creation model. To align the organization for specific goals and accountability, an executive structure has been created with three direct reporting lines: Operations, China, and Finance. 

Commenting on the newly implemented initiatives, Jim Gaynor, President and Chief Executive Officer of LightPath, said, "We are driving changes in the marketplace and are adapting accordingly. Over the past five years we have recorded a compounded annual revenue growth rate of approximately 10% for our core aspheric optical lens business, which excludes our new infrared product line and a large non-recurring DARPA program. During this period, we invested to expand our high speed manufacturing capacity, enhance our manufacturing, coating and finishing processes, and implemented a demand-creation model that leverages our low cost, high volume, superior quality production capabilities to not only take market share but, more importantly, to create new market opportunities."

"The Company's revenue growth alone reflects the success of our efforts, with our top line supporting significant market share gains as we have increased sales of our precision molded optics by a 9.8% compound annual growth rate for the period of 2009 through 2014 as compared to the 5.8% market growth rate for laser diodes for the period of 2010 through 2014 as reported by Laser Focus World's annual survey. Furthermore, as we reported in our last quarterly financial results, our 12 month backlog increased approximately 25% to $5.3 million at September 30, 2014 as compared to June 30, 2014, and our bookings for optical lenses in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 were nearly $3.5 million, the highest level in ten quarters. Other measures that demonstrate our improved operational position is in our production capacity and profitability. The average number of lenses sold per year from 2006 through 2008 were under 400,000 as compared with an average number of lenses sold per year reaching over 2 million from 2012 through 2014. At the same time, our annual average gross margin as a percentage of revenue increased from 18% in 2006 through 2008 to 42% in 2012 through 2014."

"Given the success we have achieved over the last several years, the growth initiatives and organizational modifications announced today are intended to further enhance our incremental organic growth position for our core aspheric lens business, prime our operations for the anticipated high growth of our new infrared products, and allow for the integration of strategic acquisitions. An ancillary benefit of the changes announced today is an estimated annual reduction of operating expenses of 5% to 10% or savings of approximately $200,000 to $375,000 per year upon complete implementation. We are benefiting from a substantial increase in revenue generating opportunities and broader market applications as a result of our investments in technologies that decreased our lens production costs and expanded our production capacity. We believe we can further improve upon our track record of growth -- and to do so far more profitably."

As an integral component to accomplish its goals, LightPath is aligning its sales and marketing efforts to elevate its demand-creation model to an even more technically-based approach as its addressable markets have proven to be increasingly receptive to the Company's product lines. Technical and engineering staff will be more fully integrated with the Company's sales force, and two new sales positions have been created: (1) Executive Sales Manager, combining the responsibility for all sales and marketing under Glenn Breeze; and, (2) Marketing Manager under Kimberly Clifton. Organizations supporting aspheric visible lens products and the Company's new line of infrared products will be combined. Sales, marketing, engineering and quality will report to Alan Symmons, who assumes the newly created position of Executive Vice President-Operations. 

Mr. Symmons, previously Vice President of Corporate Engineering, has been a valued part of LightPath's leadership team since 2006. He is credited with making significant corporate-wide improvements, including the organization and management of a technical staff; implementation of LightFast, a quick turnaround of product quotes and production of custom designs; and the development of new lens products that include low cost lenses, blue lenses and many custom designs.

Mr. Breeze, previously Director of Infrared Sales, joined LightPath in 2013 from Ophir Optics where he was Director of Sales and Marketing. Mr. Breeze has over 40 years experience in engineering, technical sales and business development. His experience with electro optical applications, infrared optical components and design bring exactly the skills and industry contacts needed to support the growth of LightPath's business.

Ms. Clifton also joined LightPath in 2013 to lead the inside sales and marketing communications function. She has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, media communications and merchandising for companies such as Stanley Black and Decker, Crossfire Safety Eyewear, Scholastic Inc., The Gap, and NPI Direct Mail Marketing.

LightPath's Finance organization will continue to be led by Chief Financial Officer Dorothy Cipolla, who also will assume the newly created position of Chief Administrative Officer. Areas reporting to Ms. Cipolla now include functions relating to finance, controller, human resources, purchasing, facilities, and internal control systems/IT.

Ms. Cipolla has been Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer since February 2006. She has over 30 years' experience and served as a CFO for both public and private companies. Prior to joining LightPath, Ms. Cipolla was engaged as CFO for LaserSight Inc., a manufacturer of laser eye surgery equipment from March 2004 through February 2006. Ms. Cipolla served in various accounting, finance and business positions with LaserSight Inc., Alliant Energy Corporation, Goliath Networks, Inc., and Network Six, Inc. as well as various roles within The Kendall Company (Colgate Palmolive) and Ernst & Young. Ms. Cipolla is a certified public accountant.

LightPath's business in China will continue to be led by General Manager Hui Yue. Mr. Yue has been with LightPath since 2007, serving as General Manager for the Company's activities in China for the last three years. Earlier at LightPath, he had been Deputy GM for the Shanghai province operations for over five years. Under his leadership, LightPath has doubled its lens manufacturing capacity, including the recently opened facility in Zhenjiang province. Prior to joining LightPath Mr. Yue was the Senior Director of Sales for Walsin Fujikura.

About LightPath Technologies:
LightPath Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPTH) provides optics and photonics solutions for the industrial, defense, telecommunications, testing and measurement, and medical industries. LightPath designs, manufactures, and distributes optical and infrared components including molded glass aspheric lenses and assemblies, infrared lenses and thermal imaging assemblies, fused fiber collimators, and gradient index GRADIUM® lenses. LightPath also offers custom optical assemblies, including full engineering design support. For more information, visit www.lightpath.com.

This news release includes statements that constitute forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding our ability to expand our presence in certain markets, future sales growth, continuing reductions in cash usage and implementation of new distribution channels. This information may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, factors detailed by LightPath Technologies, Inc. in its public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required under the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, we do not have any intention or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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