OCTOBER 4--PPT VISION Inc. (Minneapolis, MN; www.pptvision.com) has entered into an agreement to sell its 3D - SMI (scanning moiré interferometry) technology asset, together with all the related patents, intellectual property, inventory, and equipment, to Ismeca Semiconductor Europe SA ("Ismeca"). Under the agreement, Ismeca will pay PPT VISION $1.0 million for the assets of the 3D - SMI product line. In addition, Ismeca is required to make royalty payments to PPT Vision based on the future sales of certain 3D - SMI products by Ismeca to specified customers for the next five years.
As a result of the agreement, PPT VISION will record a charge to earnings in the fourth quarter of approximately $850,000 related to the write-off of the 3D - SMI patent and related inventory and equipment. The write-off primarily represents a noncash charge for the unamortized portion of the 3D - SMI patent. The sale is expected to close before October 31, 2004. Going forward, the company will present the results of the operations of the 3D - SMI product line and the loss on the sale of the assets as a discontinued operation in its financial statements.
"Our decision to divest our 3D - SMI technology asset is driven by two primary considerations," stated Joe Christenson, president of PPT VISION. "First, we believe that we can provide a greater return to our shareholders on a going-forward basis by focusing all of the energy and resources of PPT VISION on our core 2-D machine-vision business without any distractions. We believe this because our IMPACT machine-vision product line is realizing very strong customer acceptance, and its sales are increasing, a trend we expect to continue. The IMPACT machine-vision product family is successfully addressing dozens of manufacturing inspection applications, and the market for 2-D machine vision is growing throughout the world as automation is being applied to more and more manufacturing processes as a means of improving productivity. Second, while the 3D - SMI technology is a proven and powerful solution for a number of specific applications, we believe that it can be more effectively commercialized in the hands of a larger capital-equipment company with greater financial resources and an established distribution channel more tightly aligned with the end market where the 3D - SMI technology is best applied (such as Ismeca)," continued Christenson.
PPT VISION Inc. develops and markets machine vision-based automated inspection systems for manufacturing applications. The company's machine-vision product lines are sold on a global basis to OEMs, system integrators, machine builders, and end users, primarily in the electronics and semiconductor component, automotive, medical device, and packaged goods industries.