Losses at Option Wireless fall to €4.5m as staff shed

LOSSES at Cork-based wireless technology manufacturer Option Wireless narrowed last year to €4.5 million as it slashed the numbers it employed.

Accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office by Option Wireless Ltd show that revenues more than halved from €115.8m to €45.1m in the 12 months to December last.

At the end of 2009, the company’s Global Operations headquarters based at the Kilbarry Industrial Estate in Cork employed 240, down 36 on the previous year.

The post-tax loss last year followed a post tax loss of €15.69m in 2009.

The directors report states: “2010 was an even more difficult year than 2009 for the company.

“The fear of a double dip scenario and the price competition from Chinese vendors, Huawei and ZTE, resulted in the further decline of selling prices and profit margins on USB devices.

“In addition, the difficult economic environment increased customers’ focus on price, favouring low end volume products.”

The report states: “New initiatives and developments were started in 2010 bringing new solutions and products to the company’s product portfolio in 2011. However, the impact on the 2010 numbers has been significant.

“The restructuring initiated by the company in 2009 had a very important impact on the organisation.”

The company paid a dividend of €29m to its Belgian parent in 2009 and none was paid last year.

In response to price pressure in the EU, Option Wireless had opened a number of cases by the European Commission. However, after entering a co-operating agreement with Chinese firm, Huawei Technologies, Option Wireless withdrew its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases before the Commission last year.

The directors’ report states that since year end the Option Wireless group has received €33m in payments from Huawei as part of a software licence agreement.

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