Volume 7, Issue 3,  May-June 2003

    The Latest Industry News

Southwall Annouces Overall Decline for 2002
Southwall Technologies Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., has announced its fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2002 results. An overall decline in revenue with net losses across the board, company president and chief executive officer Thomas G. Hood expressed his dissatisfaction with the yearly numbers, stating, “We are not pleased with the overall results of the fourth quarter and the fiscal year.

“In addition to disappointing revenues, factors impacting our fourth-quarter operating performance included products claims and returns, higher than expected freight charges resulting from our efforts to mitigate the effects from the West Coast dock strike; and our limited ability to absorb fixed manufacturing costs,” said Hood.

Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2002 were $13.5 million, down 34.1 percent from the $20.5 million recorded for the fourth quarter of 2001. Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2002 was $6.9 million, or 55 cents per share, compared with a net income of $2.2 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, for the comparable quarter last year.

Full-year net revenues of $68.8 million showed a decline of $14.2 million from the $83.0 million achieved in 2001. The company attributes the annual revenue decrease chiefly to a significant decline in sales of its solar- control film products for the automotive industry in Europe. Sales of solar-control film for the commercial and residential architectural glass markets as well as anti-reflective film for electronic display markets and were also down slightly in 2002.

“Our priority goals for 2003 are to restore profitability as quickly as possible, to generate positive cash flow on a quarterly basis and to secure a credit facility for the company. In addition, we plan to implement our new enterprise resource planning system and to increase the focus and effectiveness of our sales, marketing and engineering functions and align them more closely with our customers and target markets,” said Hood.

Dates Announced For IWFE 2004
The 5th Annual International Window Film Conference and Exposition™ (IWFE) will be held March 4-6, 2004, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the Radisson Bahia Mar Beach Resort. 

For the past four years, the IWFE has attracted participants from all over the United States and a number of countries and allows owners, customer representatives and others involved in the window film industry to participate in educational seminars, workshops, exhibitions and social events. This event is co-sponsored by the International Window Film Association and Window Film magazine.

The 2004 IWFE also means it’s time for the third annual International Window Film Tint-Off. The contest gives the world’s best automotive applicators the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to tint efficiently and correctly. The contestants are judged on the cleanliness of the application and car as well as the quality of their work. Thirteen countries have been represented previously by tinters competing for a trophy, customized leather jacket, cash prize and rights to the title, “World’s Best Tinter.”

Texas House Debates S.B. 345
Senate Bill 345 is in the process of being moved through the Texas state legislature. Introduced by Sen. Ogden, the bill would change the state’s film law to a net law that would combine the light transmission of the tint with the manufactured tinted window. The combined net total of light transmission allowed under the proposed bill would be 25 percent, which when applied to a windshield with a factory glass VLT of 70 percent, would mean that only the addition of films in the 50-percent range would classify as legal when applied to the manufacturer-tinted lites. The proposed amendment is 15-percent more restrictive for the front sidelites than current Texas legislation.

The bill would also require the rear sidelites to comply with the 35-percent standard and would prohibit darker film on the backlites of SUVs unless factory-tinted by the manufacturer. In addition, the bill will revoke the exclusion of pre-1988 vehicles from subjection to the new laws and blue would become a prohibited color. At press time, the bill had been received in the House from the Senate and was referred to the transportation committee.

AIMCAL Recognizes Toray and Bekaert
In the Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Lamin-ators’ (AIMCAL’s) product of the year division, Bekaert Specialty Films of San Diego was awarded a technical award in the industrial category for its part in creating the SpeedStack7 laminated, multi-use, tear-off visor system from Racing Optics of San Clemente, Calif.

The visor cover was constructed of a laminated stack of optical-grade Mylar polyester film from DuPont Co., of Wilmington, Del. The stackable layers of 2-millimeter polyester/0.1-millimeter adhesive film enable users to peel off a layer as it becomes scratched or dirty during racing, surgery, industrial cleaning and painting, dental procedures or shot basting.

“Maintaining film and adhesive characteristics to preserve optical characteristics is pretty incredible,” said the judges.

In addition, Toray Plastics (America) Inc. of North Kingstown, R.I., was a finalist in the material category of the Technology of the Year Award presented at the group’s winter management meeting. Toray was recognized for its LumBrite U6E polyester film, which the company says is the first directly embossable polyester for holographic applications. 


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