EXFO Sees Quarterly Sales Drop


By Kelly Hill

After seeing record test and measurement sales in its first fiscal quarter of 2020, EXFO is reporting that the same period in 2021 tougher: Test sales were down 9.8 per cent compared to the same period last year. Overall, the company’s sales were down 2.8 per cent in the three months that ended November 30, 2020, which EXFO said was mainly due to the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic but partially offset by a boost in calendar-year-end spending by operators.

“EXFO delivered a strong first-quarter performance in fiscal 2021 as compared to a coronavirus-free opening quarter in 2020,” said EXFO’s CEO Philippe Morin, in a statement, still categorized the company’s first-quarter performance . “Robust sales and earnings results confirm market acceptance of our highly differentiated solutions related to fiber, cloud-native and 5G network deployments as we continue to develop new ways to engage and serve our global customer base in this virtualized environment. We’re particularly pleased with our SASS offering’s penetration into new accounts through the recently announced fiber monitoring deal with BT’s subsidiary, Openreach, and five service assurance contracts secured in the fourth quarter of 2020.”

EXFO’s Service Assurance, Systems and Services (SASS) sales were up 18.6 per cent year-over-year.

On a regional basis, the company saw sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Asia-Pacific region improve 23.3 per cent and 9.2 per cent year-over-year, respectively — but sales in the Americas fell 20.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The company’s profitability improved, with some help from insurance and the Canadian government. EXFO’s earnings totaled US$3.6 million, compared to a loss of about US$64,000 during 2020 fiscal first quarter. Those earnings included a US$1.4 million emergency wage subsidy from the Canadian government and an after-tax insurance recovery of US$2.5 million related to the loss of assets.

In other test news:

–Keysight Technologies has introduced a number of Source Measure Units (SMUs) for voltage and current measurements in semiconductor, device and materials test. The Keysight M9601A PXIe precision SMU is designed for precise current versus voltage measurement tasks. The test company says that the Keysight M9614A and M9615A are PXIe five-channel precision SMUs to support semiconductor reliability and integrated circuit testing, where high channel density is required. Finally, its new M9602A and M9603A SMUS have narrow pulse width, fast sampling and low noise performance to support uses like vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) optical devices and IC testing.

“Keysight has provided high precision source-measurement-units (SMUs) for decades, and our enhanced bench B2900B series SMU instruments continue to set the bar for accuracy, precision and measurement throughput,” said vice president of Keysight Technologies Electronic Industrial Products, Christopher Cain in a statement. “We have leveraged our deep SMU expertise and the latest electronic technologies to create a family of high precision PXIe modular SMUs. These high-density measurement SMU modules can be scaled in a PXIe system to reduce overall test time by up to 25 per cent, which is crucial in vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser device and quantum computing measurements.”

In other Keysight news, Chinese SoC company NewRadio Tech will use Keysight signal sources and analyzers to validate the performance of NewRadio Tech Ultra WideBand (UWB) SoC.

–Rohde & Schwarz has unveiled a new handheld vector network analyzer for testing cables and components with a range up to 26.5 GHz. The R&S ZNH has full 2-port S-parameter measurements and a built-in receiver step attenuator at both ports that protects it from overloading, according to the company. Additional options such as a power meter, pulse measurement, wave ratio and wave quantities are available via a software keycode.

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