Carclo to ship touchscreens and trigger a £6.5m bonus

CARCLO expects to start shipping its touchscreen sensors to smartphone and tablet manufacturers this autumn, triggering a $10m (£6.5m) pre-payment from its US partner Atmel Corporation.

The Ossett-based company believes its technology can transform the $10bn market for mobile phone and tablet computer touchscreens.

In a trading update, the group said it is performing in line with expectations and it looks forward to another year of progress across all business streams.

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Carclo said its technical plastics division enjoyed a strong period in terms of new business awards, despite some signs of weakness in short term schedules in a small number of customers.

It is now planning to bring forward a substantial capacity increase in its US medical division to absorb this additional business.

Its LED Technologies division has a pipeline of new projects in the Wipac’s supercar lighting business that should deliver good growth over the next two years.

Due to working days and seasonality, the second half of Carclo’s financial year is usually stronger than the first half. The group said this second half will be stronger than normal because of the increase in production of touchscreen sensors.

The group said its financial position has been strengthened significantly by its recent £13m equity placing.

The cash will be used to develop touchscreen sensors made from Carclo’s conductive inkjet technology (CIT).

Carclo’s CIT lays fine lines of copper to create considerably cheaper and thinner touch screens than those made using the conventional indium tin oxide.

It has signed an exclusive 10-year deal with Atmel, the semiconductor manufacturer, to launch XSense, the touchscreen sensors.

Carclo’s technology allows developers to make larger, lighter, less power-hungry, sleeker designs for smartphones, tablets and other products.

Production samples have been supplied to eight major device manufacturers covering seven smartphone models and three tablets.

Carclo’s chief executive Ian Williamson, who is to retire in March 2013 after postponing his retirement two years ago, said the eight manufacturers include both big and small players. Apple and Samsung dominate both the smartphone and tablet markets.

Mr Williamson estimated that the group will produce 100,000 screens a week once it starts shipping.

In addition to boosting touchscreen production, the £13m placing will be used to reduce debts and develop the group’s medical arm, Carclo Diagnostic Solutions (CDS).

CDS provides disposable blood tests needed by people on blood thinning drugs to check they are taking the right medication.