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SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Between 2006 and 2011, unit shipments of integrated circuits used in RFID applications will increase at a CAGR of 63% per year and exceed 26.1 billion devices worldwide in 2011, according to IC Insights.
Radio-frequency identification products continue to show strong growth as RFID technologies take hold in more applications worldwide, the research firm says.
Growing concerns about national security and personal-identity theft along with ongoing efforts to improve inventory tracking and logistics in business sectors are sharply driving use of RFID transponders and contact-less smartcards that employ RFID links, according to a recent IC Insights report.
Smartcard IC volumes are expected to rise at a CAGR of more than 21% in the forecast period and reach 4.9 billion units in 2011.

Revenues for ICs in RFID applications (including RF ICs and logic devices for tag readers and scanners) are forecast to reach $2.3 billion in 2011, compared to $790 million in 2007, a CAGR of 32% per year.
RFID IC sales are forecast to exceed $1 billion for the first time in 2009. Meanwhile, smartcard IC sales are expected to grow from about $4.1 billion in 2007 to $5.6 billion in 2011, which represents a CAGR of 9%.
Steady advancements in miniaturization, cost cuts, and greater transmission efficiencies have enabled RFID transponders (or tags) to overcome most technical hurdles, while standards in systems and software implementations have encouraged greater adoption of the technology as a replacement for printed barcodes and traditional paperwork, says the research firm.
The RFID market is getting a boost from governments programs aimed at replacing conventional paper passports and plastic ID cards with electronic passports and smartcards that use contactless chip technologies. More than 50 governments worldwide are now aggressively pursuing e-passport and ID initiatives. The U.S. Passport Agency, for example, expects to complete the phase-in of wireless RFID-based passports during the next 10 years. IC Insights believes the sale of transponders for "e-passports" and national ID programs could reach $500 million by 2011.
PARISAsteel continued its buying spree, today announcing the acquisition of MRP Electronics PLC, a UK-based EMS company. Financial and other terms were not announced.
MRP had reported 2007 sales of 12 million pounds, according to published accounts. It operates a 30,000 sq. ft. plant in Bedford, UK.
As previously reported by Circuits Assembly, Asteel's planned acquisition of Flash Electronics creates a $750 million EMS firm with 18 manufacturing sites and more than one million sq. ft. of factory space worldwide, plus a subsidiary in Romania.
Asteel is privately held and headquartered in Paris.
“This acquisition could not have come at a better time as some of our larger customers were considering taking their high volume work to the Far East,” MRP managing director Mike Perry said in published reports. “Now they can keep their MRP contacts – even for high volume production.”
MALVERN, PAVishay Intertechnology’s fourth-quarter profits fell 81% year-over-year on one-time costs; the company earned $4.9 million.
Revenue rose to $729.6 million for the quarter, up nearly 13% year-over-year.
The company reported restructuring and severance costs of $40.2 million.
For the year, profits fell 6.4% to $130.7 million year-over-year. Revenue rose to $2.83 billion, up 8.8% compared to 2006.
JASPER, IN – Kimball International today reported net sales of $347.8 million and income from continuing operations of $4.2 million for its fiscal 2008 second quarter.

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ANGLETON, TX – Benchmark Electronics reported quarterly profits fell 24% on a 3% drop in sales for the period ended Dec. 31.

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HERNDON, VAiNEMI has scheduled a workshop looking RFID tags at the item level.
The workshop will be held Feb. 21 in Boston, co-located with the RFID Smart Labels USA 2008 conference.
iNEMI’s Item-Level Tag Roadmap attempts to identify the critical technologies and business processes that must be improved to drive adoption of RFID at the item level. This workshop will offer the first opportunity for a broader industry review of the draft document, and will be used to solicit input to, and feedback on, the work done to date. 
In particular, the iNEMI RFID team will be looking for feedback on primary barriers (both strategic and tactical) limiting adoption; projected future improvements in key technical and business attributes, and industry efforts recommended to close gaps and accelerate deployment.
Registration is free and conference registration is not required. 
To register, visit
SINGAPORESurface Mount Technology Holdings reported third-quarter revenue was HK$755.6 million, up 19.6% year-over-year. Net loss was HK$3.3 million, down from a profit of HK$10.2 million a year ago.

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WEST BRIDGEWATER, MASunburst EMS announced the purchase of New England Wire Assemblies.

No financial terms of the agreement were disclosed.
“The acquisition of New England Wire Assemblies broadens our service portfolio with extensive cable assembly expertise and tooling,” said Andrew Chase, Sunburst president and CEO.
New England Wire Assemblies specializes in the production of custom wire harnesses and cable assemblies. The company has provided epoxy custom molded assemblies, discrete wire and multi-conductor cables, connectors for high vacuum applications and other electromechanical assemblies.
Sunburst EMS provides contract electronics manufacturing services, including design, prototyping, PCB assembly, conformal coating, box build and supply chain management.
MACAO, CHINANam Tai Electronics reported fourth quarter net sales of $186.9 million, down 18.6% year-over-year. Gross profit was $21 million, a decrease of 4.4% compared to the same quarter of 2006.
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SANTA CLARA, CAAgilent Technologies will showcase its latest test and inspection solutions at Virtual PCB on Feb. 12-13.

A first for Agilent, the virtual trade show permits visitors to view their products from office or home.

Agilent will showcase new products for automated optical inspection, automated x-ray inspection, in-circuit test technology and automotive functional test.

Visitors can interact real-time with booth duty staffers or send questions to the company’s panel of experts.

To register, visit
SCHAUMBURG, ILLenovo yesterday said it plans to sell its failing mobile phone business for $100 million to a private equity firm under its parent, Legend Holdings.
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TORONTO – Celestica Inc. reported fourth quarter revenue slipped 2% from last year to $2.2 billion. The EMS firm’s net loss shrunk to $11.7 million, from $60.8 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31.
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