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Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Asia Optical aims to be world's largest maker of phone camera lenses in 2006

Asia Optical, the largest manufacturer of optical lenses in Taiwan, set a challenging goal of becoming the largest producer, globally, of phone camera lenses by 2006, according to company chairman Robert Lai at an institutional investor conference on February 18.

In view of growing global demand for camera cell phones, Asia Optical expects to ship 15 million AF (auto focus) phone camera lenses in 2005 and will expand its monthly production capacity to 2.5 million lenses at the end of this year, in line with the goal, Lai indicated.

Asia Optical also produces glass lenses, with approximately half of the output for own use and the remainder for sale, Lai noted. The company has increased its monthly production capacity of spherical glass lenses from 10 million units in 2004 to 11 million pieces currently and will keep expanding the capacity until it reaches 15 million by the end of this year, Lai said.

In addition to spherical glass lenses, Asia Optical is ambitious in developing aspherical glass lenses. With 53 glass molding press (GMP) machines, the company will expand its monthly production capacity of precision molded aspherical glass lenses from two million pieces in 2004 to three million, consisting of double convex, double concave and convex-concave/concave-convex (both called meniscus) types, this year, Lai indicated. The company plans to further expand the monthly capacity to more than five million pieces at the end of 2006 in an attempt to compete with Japan-based Hoya, currently the world?s largest supplier in the field, Lai added.

Asia Optical recorded consolidated revenues of NT$27.148 billion last year, growing by 37.2% from 2003. The company generated net profits of NT$2.436 billion in 2004, rising by 24.3% on-year and translating into net earnings per share of NT$12.62.

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