Virtek expects to achieve revenue from continuing operations of approximately $23.8 million in Fiscal 2003, a 5% increase for the same period last year. Operationally, Virtek Laser Systems Inc. expects to return to profitability during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2003 and report an overall loss for the year.
"Our strong cash position, balance sheet, market positions and customer base are key elements contributing to our overall growth and return to profitability during these difficult economic times," says Bob Sandness, president and COO of Virtek. "We're reserving our cash for future business expansion and focusing our efforts on sales to help us achieve our long-term goal of $100 million in revenue."
Earlier this month, Virtek took initial steps to reorganize its sales structure. Kevin Quinlan, Virtek's vice-president of business development, is now also heading up the Virtek sales and support team. Mr. Quinlan is working with Virtek's sales people to identify and remove impediments to sales and determine how to increase revenues. Furthermore, he will look at how Virtek can grow and strengthen relationships with both existing and new key distributors.
Virtek has also appointed Tom Goodnow as director of North American sales, who is helping assess how best to use Virtek's sales and marketing resources to grow revenues and help return Virtek to profitability. Mr. Goodnow is based in Minnesota and joins Virtek with 25 years of successful sales management experience, most notably with GSI Lumonics, formally General Scanning.
"These changes are consistent with our approach of driving Virtek back to profitability by increasing sales rather than downsizing," says Sandness. "Our objective in making these changes is to further strengthen our sales and support areas. We believe this improved structure will open the door to cross- selling, better leverage our sales resources and allow us to focus on the best opportunities within Laser Systems and FONA."
After receiving $2.7 million in matching government grants, FONA's team of leading scientists is now focusing on improving the operational sensitivity of the fibre-optic nucleic acid biosensor. FONA is a diagnostic tool used to detect and provide analysis on any genetic material including hazardous organisms in water and infectious diseases and genetic disorders in humans and animals.
"With FONA's current fundraising efforts now complete, we're working towards increasing the sensitivity of the biosensor to the point where we can eliminate the costly and time consuming amplification step currently in use," says Sandness. "Today, FONA requires a billion molecule sample size to perform a genetic test. Reaching sensitivity levels of 100,000 to one million molecules would open a broader range of applications and opportunities in the enormous clinical diagnostic market. Our goal is to have some definitive results regarding this within six months."
About Virtek Vision International Inc.
Virtek is a global leader in the development of precision laser-based solutions for the pre-fabricated construction, transportation, sheet metal and gasket fabrication, flat glass and diagnostics industries. Virtek's laser systems provide compelling customer benefits including significantly increased throughput, quality and reduced costs. The majority of sales are to the United States and Europe. Virtek maintains offices in Waterloo, Mississauga and Brussels.