Thin Film Electronics ASA, a leader in Near Field Communications (NFC) solutions, announced a strategic update and corporate restructuring aligning the business with the current market adoption of NFC. The Company plans to focus resources on developing and building market adoption of its brand protection and consumer engagement solutions. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Flexible, Printed and Organic Electronics 2019-2029.
Today, Thinfilm took the following steps toward this goal. The Company has:
- Paused development of printed dopant polysilicon (PDPS) technology
- Realigned its sales organization and its go-to-market strategy
- Sharpened its focus on complete product solutions, integrating hardware and software
- Reduced its global footprint and shifted weight toward San Jose.
These actions are designed to yield nearly $20 million in annualized savings at the operating level and will result in an approximate 40 percent reduction in the work force.
"I am very disappointed that we need to take these drastic steps, especially given the significant contributions of individual team members and I'd like to thank them for their commitment and wish them well for the future" said Chief Executive Officer Kevin Barber.
The Q4 2018 update noted that previous management was too optimistic on timing of demand for NFC solutions, the need for a PDPS solution and mistakenly pursued a sub-optimal go-to-market strategy.
While the new Management Team is confident in the viability of NFC technology in the long term, market adoption has been slower than anticipated in the previous business plan and has been hampered by delayed support from leading handset vendors. As a direct result, the sales performance was disappointing.
Progress on the roll-to-roll PDPS factory has been unsatisfactory leading to significant delays to the scheduled completion. The Board of Directors and the new Management Team believes PDPS technology is not required during the early phase of market growth. It is, therefore, in the best interests of Thinfilm's shareholders to pause development of the PDPS technology. It is not nor ever was a critical part of building initial market volume. However, in the event of very significant market growth, Thinfilm may reassess this decision.
Finally, silicon-based NFC solutions are currently readily available and sufficiently cost-efficient to deliver competitive solutions to drive a profitable business model. In addition, management believes it can drive significantly improved cost-per-unit on silicon-based solutions to cater for large volumes.
As a result of pausing the printed electronics line, Thinfilm will discontinue the current Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) business after exhausting existing inventory with our leading customer. All in all, EAS has been maintained as a tool to improve roll to roll factory learning, but, it has not positively contributed to Thinfilm profitability.
Thinfilm is disappointed to report that discussions with a potential strategic equity partner are not expected to result in investment at this time.
Thinfilm continues to engage in multiple discussions with strategic go-to-market partners where we can integrate our NFC tags into specific components and leverage existing relationships to deploy our brand protection and consumer engagement solutions.
The new Management Team is confident in the positive long-term outlook as communicated to shareholders in the Q4 2018 report. Customer case studies have demonstrated that Thinfilm's product solution addresses customer pain points of authentication, anti-tampering and mobile marketing use cases, in particular in the wine & spirits, health & beauty and over-the-counter pharmaceutical verticals. We believe that we can take a leading position in the NFC market by delivering a comprehensive solution offering and, in turn, drive unit volumes into the billions. Thinfilm offers end-to-end solutions which incorporate NFC tags, integrating them into products and delivering data and actionable insights via the CNECT(TM) cloud-based platform at scale. Thinfilm's offers clearly differentiated product solutions from other providers.
Thinfilm will host an investor presentation in Oslo, Norway, and via webcast, on the new strategy in due course. The date will be announced shortly.
Thinfilm is enabling Intelligence Everywhere® through our near field communications (NFC) solutions. We provide NFC solutions addressing customer and consumer pain points such as brand protection, consumer engagement and supply-chain insights. Thinfilm's NFC OpenSense(TM) and SpeedTap(TM) products communicate wirelessly with NFC-enabled smartphones and can be applied to everyday objects. Thinfilm provides end-to-end services throughout the entire process incorporating NFC tags, integrating them onto products and delivering data and actionable insights via the CNECT(TM) cloud-based platform at scale. Thinfilm's Junction Avenue manufacturing facility in San Jose, California includes a manufacturing clean room designed to scale current production through a high-volume roll-to-roll manufacturing line for Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) products and transistor-based NFC products. Thinfilm is a leading participant in the NFC community through its participation on the NFC Forum Board as well as its working groups and committees.
Thin Film Electronics ASA is a publicly listed company in Norway with corporate headquarters in Oslo, global headquarters in San Jose, California, and offices in Linköping, London, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney.
Investor and Analyst Contact
Kevin Barber - Chief Executive Office
+1 408 503 7306
Ole R. Thorsnes - Chief Financial Officer
+47 918 66 697
Pilar Wolfsteller - Director, Corporate Communications
+1 408 476 5020