Photronics, Inc.

Photronics, Inc.

March 22, 2006 08:53 ET

Photronics Hosts Grand Opening Ceremonies in Taichung, Taiwan; State-of-the-Art Flat Panel Display Mask Manufacturing Facility to Serve Asia's Rapidly Growing Display Fabrication Industry

TAICHUNG, Taiwan--(CCNMatthews - Mar 22, 2006) -

Photronics, Inc. (Nasdaq:PLAB), a worldwide leader in supplying innovative imaging technology solutions for the global electronics industry, announced today that grand opening ceremonies were held to commemorate the start of production at the Company's stand alone flat panel display (FPD) mask manufacturing facility. The event provided members of the flat panel display manufacturing community, government officials and local community leaders with the opportunity to tour this state-of-the-art operation and meet with members of Photronics' local manufacturing operations and corporate management team. Located in the Central Taiwan Science-Based Industrial Park at Taichung, the facility is the first of its kind in Photronics' global photomask manufacturing network. Initially, the Company has equipped the operation to deliver mask technology and services to companies producing displays using Generation 6 through Generation 8 process technologies.

"Photronics, through opportunities in providing masks required for the fabrication of FPDs, has found an application for its core mask fabrication competency that the Company is leveraging into a new and rapidly growing market. To date, our performance to plan has been far better than expected as display technologies are finding their way into a diverse set of products and applications. Strategic investments in our FPD capability have facilitated our developing advanced technologies that differentiate Photronics from its competitors. When combined with our world class service organization, Photronics has been able to quickly establish a leadership position in this served market," noted Michael J. Luttati, Chief Executive Officer of Photronics. He added, "In opening the Taichung facility today, Photronics is realizing another important milestone in the expansion of our capabilities aimed at enhancing the value of the services we deliver to each of our valued customers. By working closely with our FPD mask operations in Korea, Taichung provides Photronics with a comprehensive product offering to grow with these customers, providing the technology and services they will require to be successful in the years to come."

According to Photronics' market research, the demand for flat panel display masks is growing at a rate nearly three times as fast as the demand for semiconductor masks. Regionally, Photronics estimates that Taiwan is one of the fastest growing markets for flat panel display fabrication. Over the past several quarters, the FPD industry's major manufacturers in this region have publicly announced significant investments in new production lines and fabrication facilities. The 10,146 square meter facility Photronics opened today has been modeled to the same specifications of the leading-edge flat panel display fabrication facilities it is designed to support. Redundant systems and cross qualifications with Photronics' FPD mask manufacturing facility in Korea enable Photronics to significantly improve its support of this rapidly growing portion of its customer base in both the Korean and Taiwanese regions.

Soo Hong Jeong, PhD, President of Photronics Asia shared his views on the significance of today's opening ceremonies. "Our customers in the flat panel display market are experiencing tremendous growth as consumers and businesses race to replace obsolete cathode ray tube technology in the television and computer markets. Because the opportunity does not end there, is what makes the timing of our investments truly exciting. Much like the advanced semiconductor technology customers Photronics serves around the world, our display customers are experiencing an increase in complexity driven by the needs for greater performance and functionality, which is being coupled with shorter product life cycles. Our Company's unique knowledge of imaging solutions technology has created opportunities for Photronics to improve not only the overall cost of production for these customers, but the overall cost of ownership for the consumers as well." Dr. Jeong added, "The technology we are bringing on-line here today can have a profound influence on our customers' ability to adapt their product designs and explore new uses for display technologies that benefit both industrial productivity and consumer satisfaction. Our entire team will be working diligently to earn our customers' trust and continued business with every mask set we deliver."

Photronics is a leading worldwide manufacturer of photomasks. Photomasks are high precision quartz plates that contain microscopic images of electronic circuits. A key element in the manufacture of semiconductors and flat panel displays, photomasks are used to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers and flat panel substrates during the fabrication of integrated circuits, a variety of flat panel displays and, to a lesser extent, other types of electrical and optical components. They are produced in accordance with product designs provided by customers at strategically located manufacturing facilities in Asia, Europe, and North America. Additional information on the Company can be accessed at

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Certain statements in this release are considered "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. In particular, any statement contained in this release regarding the consummation and benefits of future acquisitions, expectations with respect to future sales, financial performance, operating efficiencies and product expansion, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. These factors may cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from anticipated results, performances or achievements. Factors that might affect such forward looking statements include, but are not limited to, overall economic and business conditions; the demand and receipt of orders for the Company's products; competitive factors in the industries and geographic markets in which the Company competes; changes in federal, state and foreign tax requirements (including tax rate changes, new tax laws and revised tax law interpretations); the Company's ability to place new equipment in service on a timely basis; interest rate fluctuations and other capital market conditions, including foreign currency rate fluctuations; economic and political conditions in international markets; the ability to obtain a new bank facility or other financings; the ability to achieve anticipated synergies and other cost savings in connection with acquisitions and productivity programs; the timing, impact and other uncertainties of future acquisitions and investments; the seasonal and cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry; the availability of capital; management changes; damage or destruction to our facilities by natural disasters, labor strikes, political unrest or terrorist activity; the ability to fully utilize its tools; the ability of the Company to receive desired yields, pricing, product mix, and market acceptance of its products; changes in technology; and other risks and uncertainties set forth in the Company's SEC filings from time to time. Any forward-looking statements should be considered in light of these factors. The Company assumes no obligation to update the information in this release.

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