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SMT & Inspection | April 17, 2007

Q&A with Paul Walter, Managing Director Dage

In mid November Nordson Corp announced the acquisition of Dage Holdings Ltd. From that perspective, evertiq asked Dage Precision Industries Ltd.'s Managing Director Mr. Paul Walter to give evertiq's readers a brief outlook on the future.
Over the three-year period ending April 30, 2006, Dage revenues and operating profit grew at annual rates of 24 percent and 69 percent, respectively. Will the Nordson acquisition help you to grow even more?

Yes with a strong company like Nordson behind us we can continue to grow revenues and profits over the coming years. We have some very advanced products and some innovative development opportunities which will excite our customers and help them to meet their future test challenges.

Are you planning to grow organically or through acquisitions?

As we have a very strong R & D roadmap and plenty of ideas for both Bondtesters and X-ray products we expect a significant amount of growth will be organic however if the right strategic acquisition presented itself then we would also look at this route to achieve our objectives.

What other values for Dage will the new ownership create?

In joining the Nordson family we are positioned within the Advanced Technology Division along with market leading companies such as Asymtek, March and EFD. Between all of these companies we will have the opportunity to share knowledge on markets and engineering areas to further each others goals. Nordson also have a wealth of other divisions with resources and expertise that we can draw on now so we are excited about the prospects of having these options open to us now.

What are the most important geographical markets for you?

We cover all areas where electronics are designed or manufactured. Some of the markets like China and other Asian areas are important to us for volume sales where as others like the USA, Europe and Japan are important for new product introductions, new package developments and strategic reasons. So no single market is more important than another as they all need to be served well for us to continue to be a market leader.

Since many international electronics manufacturing firms have withdrawn from the United Kingdom in recent years, will your headquarter still remain in the UK?

Yes we are committed to the UK, we have a strong loyal workforce that we have built up over many years and we intend to continue to invest in this workforce as they are our future.

How large is your market share at the moment and how much do you predict you will receive within the next two years from now?

On the Bondtesters we continue to have a high market share as we are, and have been over the last 15 years, the market leader. We do have a recent product introduction - the Dage 400HS Bondtester - which is a high speed tester aimed at testing lead-free joints. With the acceptance of this new test regime we expect this will add significant sales to our Bondtester Division in the coming years. On the X-ray side it is very difficult to get precise information on share as X-ray systems cover so many areas however we are now certainty equal to the market leader in this field and over the next two years I have no doubt we will continue to gain share and will hold the main market share for X-ray inspection in electronics.

How will the new XiDAT XD7800 large board format digital X-ray inspection system change the future and what does this system unique?

The XD7800 is aimed at very large PCBA board applications. Our main products can handle boards and offer inspection over a 16" x 18" area however some of the bigger EMS customers have much larger boards so the new machine is aimed at these guys. It can handle boards of up to 24.3" x 33" with an inspection area of 24" x 30". It also allows 70 degree angular inspection over the entire inspection area to aid fault finding. This gives the system unique capability within in the industry and as such we are now seeing strong demand for the systems.

Within which market segment do you see the highest growth at the moment and within which segments do you see the highest potential growth?

The high growth areas are in the 3D CT X-ray area (computer tomography). As devices and boards are getting more complex in NPI areas it is becoming increasingly difficult to see the faults so it is becoming necessary to do an in-depth analysis using 3D CT systems. Future growth areas will come from automotive, medical and memory chip manufacturers as all of these areas are growing fast and customers are struggling to inspect the faults in new device configurations.

Looking at the future, how do you see the development for Dage within next two years from now?

As I mentioned we have very strong R & D roadmaps so we have plenty of ideas to work on. We continue to work very closely with our key customers and they are also giving us lots of challenges. So we intend to keep up the pace of technical leadership which we are known for and continue to bring practical solutions to our customers to help them to improve their inspection capability.

Thank you very much Mr. Walter for sharing your thoughts with evertiq's readers.
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