Bookham warns of 12 per cent fall in sales

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Shares in Bookham Technology fell as much 30 per cent yesterday after the optical components maker warned that lower demand from a key customer would cut second-quarter revenues by up to 12 per cent.

Bookham said it anticipated revenues of about £20m to £22m in the second three months of its financial year as demand slowed from its main customer, the Canadian-based telecommunications company Nortel Networks, which generates around half of group sales. Nortel recently delayed publishing its own first-quarter results after it fired its chief executive and other directors following the discovery of accounting irregularities.

Shares in Bookham fell 24.75p to 57.5p. Shortly after the group first listed in 2000, the shares were as high as 5,302p.

The company also warned that the continuing negative impact of the weak dollar to sterling would compound the quarter-on-quarter revenue fall.

"With the continuing negative impact of a weak US dollar, we continue to move aggressively with further cost reduction initiatives," the chief executive Giorgio Anania said.

The company intends to reduce overheads by about 25 per cent over the next 12 months. This would be achieved partly by moving production to a new factory in China.

Bookham posted revenues of £22.5m for the three months to 4 April, down 6 per cent on the previous quarter.

In dollar terms - the principal currency in which it receives its orders - revenues rose 2 per cent to $41.3m. Its net loss for the quarter widened by £9m to £16m.

Revenue from companies other than Nortel rose 5 per cent. Cash burn was 25 per cent higher at £11.m.

Bookham, whose products are used in telecommunications networks, the aerospace industry and data communications, said it was considering moving its corporate headquarters and listing to the United States to reflect its changing customer base and shareholder ownership.