Bloomberg News

Option Wins Clients, Sees 2007 Sales at Top of Range

February 12, 2007

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Option NV, the worst-performing stock in Belgium in the last six months, said it won two new clients including Fujitsu Siemens Computers Holding BV for its wireless data card products for portable computers.

Fujitsu Siemens will build Option's wireless card into its latest range of laptop computers and plans to start selling the card-embedded machines in the second half, Leuven, Belgium-based Option said today.

``Option will be Fujitsu's exclusive supplier of embedded modules in Amilo and Amilo Pro notebooks in Europe for a period of 12 months,'' Chief Executive Officer Jan Callewaert said in a phone interview from Barcelona today. ``This means we'll be their biggest supplier.'' Fujitsu Siemens currently has a supply agreement with Sierra Wireless Inc. for embedded wireless cards in laptops sold in Japan.

Fujitsu Siemens is Option's fifth customer for embedded wireless cards, which allow users high-speed Internet access of as fast as 3.6 megabytes of information per second. Its other clients are Acer Inc. and Uniwill Computer Corp. of Taiwan and Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea. Option has signed up a fourth laptop maker, which the company has yet to announce.

Sales Forecast

``We will be able to disclose the name of that fourth laptop maker in a short time, but I can already tell you we won't stop at five,'' Callewaert said. ``The Fujitsu deal clearly shows the Nokia announcement hasn't wiped us of the map.''

Option's stock lost almost half its value after Nokia Oyj announced Sept. 28 that it would supply wireless cards to Intel Corp. and Option a week later lowered its 2006 sales forecast. The shares gained 17 cents, or 1.3 percent, to 12.86 euros today, valuing the company at 530.5 million euros ($687.7 million).

Option today also said it won eMobile Ltd., eAccess Ltd. (9427)'s mobile-phone operator in Japan, as its first Japanese client after opening an office in Tokyo in July. The eMobile company plans to start selling data services on its latest high-speed mobile-telephone network in March. Option has already begun shipping its wireless cards to the company under the eMobile brand as well as customized products.

HSDPA Technology

The Japanese company's latest network uses HSDPA, or High Speed Downlink Packet Access, technology, which allows faster Internet access and data download speeds. The technology is the successor to the current third-generation UMTS network technology.

``The company has the best-performing network in Japan and is very ambitious in both its offering of data services and fee structure,'' Callewaert said. ``This means we won't be shipping just wireless data cards, but other devices as well,'' he said, adding that Option now has the credibility in Japan to win more supply contracts, less than a year after the company opened its first office in the country.

Option said Nov. 15 Asia will drive the company's growth in 2007, forecasting that revenue will rise to between 355 million euros and 375 million euros this year, from an expected 278 million euros in 2006.

``We already indicated we're expecting strong sales in the first half of the year,'' Callewaert said. ``I can now say we expect them to accelerate in the second half, which allows us to become more bullish. Our sales will come in at the top of the indicated range for 2007.''

Option is introducing a range a new wireless products at the 3GSM world telecommunications congress, which opened today in Barcelona and runs through Feb. 15. Most of these products are capable of offering download speeds of a much as 7.2 megabytes of information per second and also faster data upload speeds.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at aclapham@bloomberg.net; John Martens in Brussels at jmartens1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Malcolm Fried at mfried@bloomberg.net.


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