Aussie chipmaker’s stock go through roof but laser TV is still not in sight

By Ian Neubauer

SYDNEY: Australian chipmaker Arasor has seen a meteoric rise in the value of its shares following the announcement of a $335-million joint venture with China’s ZTE Corporation to commercialise laser display applications for televisions and mobile displays.

Arasor stock closed on Wednesday at $1.46 per share. By the close of trading Thursday, the company’s stock was worth at $1.97 per share, representing a 35 per cent increase in one day. As of 1 pm today, Arasor shares were being traded at $2.15, representing a 47 per cent appreciation since news of the joint venture was made public on Thursday.

“There has been a very significant rise in our stock prices which excites me and at the same time makes me glad that the market represents what we are doing,” said Arasor Australia vice president, Scott Wilkie. “But like any company, we don’t like to see a lot of volatility in our stock. We would rather see smaller rises over a longer period than a 35 per cent jump in one day.”

Nevertheless, analysts believe Arasor’s solid base of investors will ensure long-term growth.

“With influential shareholders on the register including the Macquarie Group and one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Och Ziff Capital Management, the longer-term prospects for the company appear robust,” said DVA investment analyst, Casey McLean.

Arasor is a leading manufacturer of the optoelectronic chip set behind laser television — an emergent technology hailed to one day make plasma and LCD screens obsolete.

The chip set’s great leap forward lies in its ability to produce visible light in three primary colours: red, green and blue. CRT and flatscreen technology display only a combination of primary colours, delivering less than 50 per cent of the full spectrum of colours visible to the human eye.

“Laser technology will be at the heart of the next generation display light sources that will provide consumers with a full range of benefits including access to enhanced spectrum of colours, significantly lower power consumption, larger screen sizes and overall product cost savings,” Arasor said in a statement to the press.

However, this is not the first time Arasor has been connected to announcements heralding the end of plasma and LCD.

A story published by News Ltd in October last year said Arasor “and its US partner Novalux” had announced a Christmas 2007 worldwide launch date for laser television. The announcement was made at the Sydney unveiling of what Novalux claimed to be the world’s first laser television.

Wilkie distanced his company from Novalux today and described the story as an example of “shonky journalism”.

“It is not correct to say we are in partnership with Novalux. We simply have a commercial agreement,” he said. “We are incredibly hamstrung by confidentiality agreements so would never announce a launch date.”

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