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SHOWING THE WAY

SHOWING THE WAY
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

BATTLESPACE meets Earl Lewis, CEO of FLIR Inc.

Founded in 1978, FLIR SYSTEMS has corporate offices in Portland, Headquarters, Oregon, Boston, Massachusetts, and Stockholm, Sweden. FLIR is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the Symbol (FLIR). The Company has three divisions: Government Systems, Commercial Vision Systems, and Thermography.

FLIR Systems, Inc. is a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of thermal imaging and stabilized camera systems for a wide variety of thermography and imaging applications including condition monitoring, research and development, manufacturing process control, airborne observation and broadcast, search and rescue, drug interdiction, surveillance and reconnaissance, navigation safety, border and maritime patrol, environmental monitoring and ground-based security.

“How did you come to take over the reins at FLIR?”

“I specialised in buying companies in trouble, I bought Fisons Scientific and Thermo which I ran in the U.K in 1977. Thermo then bought Spectragraphics, which traded on the Swedish Stock Exchange and which owned 28% of FLIR. I left Thermo in 2000 to run FLIR. At that time, FLIR had solid products but had reached a crisis stage in its business model and needed new leadership.

On Oct 25th 2007 FLIR announced financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2007. Revenue was $191.1m, up 43% compared to third quarter 2006 revenue of $133.2m. Operating income for the quarter was $51.8m, up 53% from $34.0m in the third quarter of 2006. Net income for the quarter was $34.8m, or $0.45 per diluted share, compared with net income of $27.1m, or $0.36 per diluted share, in the third quarter a year ago.

Year-to-date revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2007 was $536.8m, up 38% compared to $389.1m for the first nine months of 2006. Operating income for the first nine months of 2007 was $129.0m, up 58% from $81.9m during the first nine months of 2006. Net income for the first nine months of 2007 was $90.1 million, or $1.18 per diluted share, compared with net income of $61.1m, or $0.80 per diluted share, in the first nine months a year ago.

Revenue from the Company’s Government Systems division increased 70% over the third quarter of 2006, to a record $96.9m, driven by strength across all served markets, including airborne, land, and maritime. Revenue from the Company’s Commercial Vision Systems division increased 29% over the third quarter of last year, to $34.2m, reflecting strong growth in the security and transportation markets. Revenue from the Company’s Thermography division increased 21% over the third quarter of last year, to $60.0m, due to strong demand for the InfraCAM(TM) and GasFindIR(TM) product lines and the introduction of the new T-Series product line.

The backlog of firm orders for delivery within the next twelve months was approximately $393m at September 30, 2007, an increase of $82m from $311m at June 30, 2007. Backlog in the Government System’s division was $316m, up $71m during the quarter, due to orders for a wide variety of products for both U.S. and international customers. Backlog in the Commercial Vision System’s division was $59m, up $5m during the quarter. Backlog in the Thermography division was $18m, up $7m during the quarter, primarily due to orders for the company’s GasFindIR(TM) and new ThermaCam(TM) T-Series products.

“These are certainly impressive results, to what do you attribute this success?” the Editor said

“Obviously we have benefited from increased defense spend, but this is not the whole story. Since I took the reins at FLIR, the Company was in poor shape with a turnover of $150m. We installed new management and systems, these changes are now being seen in increased revenues, profits and order backlog. On top of poor performance we were also saddled with a number of shareholder lawsuits which resulted in the Company almos

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