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Eurotech: Roberto Siagri – letter to shareholders

Dear Shareholders,

2007 commenced with the completion in January of the acquisition of the US corporation Applied Data Systems Inc (ADS), specialists in low-consumption miniaturised computers. This also brought with it a 65% equity interest in the Chinese company Vantron Technology Ltd, active in software development and hardware design for mobile and multimedia, which today has over 45 graduate engineers. The ADS acquisition was a major step forward for the Group in terms of both sales and human resources, as well as creating a more marked focus on low-consumption mobile platforms.

At that point, we found ourselves with the Group’s centre of gravity tangibly skewed towards America. This suggested to us that, in our journey towards achievement of our “tipping point”, i.e., of our critical mass, it was time to look towards the East.

And so it was that, de facto, completion of the ADS acquisition paved the way for the subsequent acquisition of 65% of the Advanet Group – one of the leading companies in the Japanese embedded PC market, with sales of circa JPY 5.5 billion (over €33 million) and a 20% EBITDA margin. Advanet was the ideal choice: besides enabling us to enter the Japanese market, which is undoubtedly an important door for expansion in Asia, it did not feature any overlaps with the Group’s products and matched the profitability profile sought by us.

With the Advanet acquisition, the Group’s NanoPC offering has been completed by the addition of boards and systems based on the cPCI and VME standards, with both x86 and PowerPC processors. Moreover, as had already happened with the previous acquisitions, the Group is enhanced by an industrially and financially sound company, which we will integrate gradually via growing exploitation of Group synergies.

Thanks to these acquisitions, in 2008 we will be able to present ourselves to the market with a miniaturised PC offering comprising all the most important electrical and mechanical standards (PC/104, PC/104plus, cPCI, cPCI Express, VME, EPIC, EBX, COM Express, and PMC). Furthermore, we will also be able to offer different types of computing architecture (x86, ARM, and PowerPC). All customers sensitive to the quality, reliability and innovation which distinguish our solutions should therefore be able to find in our new offering the best response to their needs in terms of price, performance and consumption.

As regards innovation, during 2007 we once again demonstrated our ability to translate ideas and technologies into cutting-edge solutions. Using an FPGA-based flexible computing platform, we constructed Janus, the world’s most powerful computer in its segment as well as the smallest and lowest-consuming one. Janus is, in fact, the first supercomputer capable of achieving the astounding number of 8 PetaOps – 8 million billion operations per second – consuming just 10 kW and occupying a volume of just 2 cubic metres. We have thus transformed the scientific project featuring Eurotech’s co-operation with a pool of Italian and Spanish universities and research centres into a tangible reality.

A strategic lever that we will apply with special attention in 2008 will be worldwide consolidation of the Eurotech brand. Already in 2007 we saw the first move in this initiative as our UK company, Arcom, changed its name and Eurotech Ltd was born.

Following the important acquisitions made in the last two years, in 2008 the key event in the Eurotech Group’s integration process will be the merger of the US subsidiaries Applied Data Systems and Arcom to become one company – Eurotech Inc.

Eurotech Inc will be the starting point for the creation of a truly integrated group, capable of satisfying its customers with a substantial offering of innovative products and solutions together with quality services. Intentionally created to become the Eurotech Group’s premier sales channel for all products going to the American market, Eurotech Inc will sell all Group products: from boards to embedded systems and from sensors to HPCs (high-performance computers).

We expect this operation, commencing in April and completing in August, to start having a positive effect on Group profitability during the course of the year, thanks to greater operating efficiency and to the economies of scale achievable between the two companies.

I would now like to comment briefly on the business and financial results of the year that has just ended.

2007 ended with consolidated sales revenues of €76.54 million against an initial forecast of about €100 million. Apart from the natural variability typical of the dynamics of the market in which we operate, the difference versus the sales targets initially set for 2007 was mainly due to delays in the award of some projects in the USA, which caused lower than forecast revenues during the year for both Arcom and ADS. Secondly, the weight of US companies – accounting for approximately 60% of 2007 consolidated sales revenues – meant that, at the time of consolidation, Group results were hit by no mean extent by the ongoing depreciation of the US dollar against the euro, a trend that continued throughout 2007. From a business standpoint, the US companies of the Eurotech Group did not feel the effects of this US dollar trend, as all their costs are in US currency.

From a 2008 perspective, Advanet’s entry into the Eurotech Group gives us an almost ideal balance between business in US dollars, euro, and JPY. In future, the effects on consolidated accounts of one currency’s weakness versus others should be attenuated.

In 2007, Gross Profit Margin was 49.8%, substantially stable against 50.2% in 2006 and in line with initial targets, which set it at around 50%. This threshold permits an ideal balance in the cost structure and assures that we can continue investing in research and development.

Group EBITDA in 2007 was instead much lower than expected, stopping at a margin of 2.5%. This is the indicator most heavily affected by lower revenues. The latter in fact meant a heavier impact both of operating costs, prevalently fixed in nature, and, in particular, of the extra costs for integration of companies acquired, relating to the creation of a more extensive international organisation. These costs have served to lay the foundation for better exploitation of group synergies. They should therefore produce visible effects during 2008 in terms of EBITDA improvement.

Given the new scale achieved, we will have the possibility of increasing the outright value of R&D investments without this increasing their incidence as a percentage of revenues. We will therefore combine effectiveness and efficiency, exploiting the positive effects of the consolidated sales growth achieved thus far.

In summary, 2007 was a year when the Group worked hard to create the conditions for better exploitation of inter-group synergies, in terms of both increased organisational efficiency and acceleration of cross-selling and thus of organic growth. In other words, we have accumulated potential that has not yet expressed itself and should therefore be able do so during 2008.

Let us end by taking a look at the future awaiting us in the next few years.

Since the end of the 20th century, we have been witnessing the revolution driven by the new digital information and communication technologies. This is an irreversible revolution that will also lead to profound changes both in society and in individuals. A simple figure to give an idea of the phenomenon: some estimates indicate that, by the end of 2010, the number of devices connected to the Internet will grow to as many as 15 billion, but that only 5% of them will be PCs and servers, because third-generation mobile telephones will surge to take command.

The computer is becoming increasingly integrated with man. From the desktop personal computer, we have moved to increasingly portable computers (mobile telephones and PDAs) to progress today to wearable computers and so-called smart-dust networks (networks of miniaturised sensors) able to make our surroundings “intelligent”.

We thus have interconnection on one hand and integration in our surroundings and daily life on the other. This is the dominant paradigm, called “ubiquitous computing” or “pervasive computing”. This will open up major opportunities and we, thanks to our R&D investments in the last few years, are ready to take advantage of them. We are, in fact, steadily transforming Eurotech, following the new computing paradigms, from an embedded-computer company into a pervasive-computer company, aiming to be the leading company in the professional sector for pervasive computers.

Our family of wearable computers, which immediately achieved major international recognition for its innovative content, started to demonstrate its marketplace potential towards the end of 2007.
Our wireless connectivity platforms have been installed in trains and buses in the USA to give commuters constant and ubiquitous Internet access.
We have the technology and skills to gather the real world’s data and put them online: from inboard parameters of moving vehicles to the operating data of plant installations; and from the environmental conditions of specific monitored areas to information on individuals’ physiological parameters.
We are working on equipping the uniforms of first-aid and emergency rescue teams. Our sensors will pick up important physiological parameters of the rescuer and – co-ordinated by a special-purpose version of our wearable computer Zypad – communicate them to the operations HQ, which will therefore have the psychophysical conditions of the men in action under its control.

We believe that pervasive computers will be increasingly present in Eurotech’s future, i.e., distributed computing devices and platforms ready to be connected with Web infrastructures and to exploit their full potential. In the not so distant future, when everything will virtually become a computer, our NanoPCs will connect to our HPCs to form the Pervasive Grid.

We see a future with a wealth of opportunities and great growth potential and it is for these new challenges that we have equipped ourselves well.

28th March 2008
Roberto Siagri
Chairman and CEO

Eurotech will soon release a new PC/104 module providing an MVB interface for enhanced communication capabilities onboard trains.


This new product has been developed to be interfaced within a PC/104 system in order to provide MVB serial communications bus capabilities for use onboard railway vehicles.

Amaro (Udine, Italy) – January 13, 2006 ? Eurotech announced today that they will soon be releasing a new PC/104 Add-on module, the COM-1240, which is an MVB interface board specifically developed to be used as a gateway between a PC104 system and the MVB bus (Multifunctional Vehicle Bus, as used in rail applications).

The COM-1240 will allow for enhanced communications with the devices installed on board railway vehicles thus simplifying connections and widening compatibility.

The COM-1240 features the 32 bits, 24 MHz, RISC microprocessor and supports the complete TCN (Train Communication Network) protocols stack Class 3 (optionally Class 4), up to the session layer. This will free up resource requirements on the main CPU Module, as it will only need to handle the application layer of the TCN protocols.

The COM-1240 is lightweight and has very low power consumption. It is EN50155 compliant, so it will be resistant to high vibrations, humidity and temperature extremes.

ABOUT EUROTECH SpA:

Eurotech ( www.eurotech.it ) is a leader in the innovative design and development of high performance digital systems. Standard or customer specific solutions are based on Eurotech competence in NanoPC technology.

ABOUT THE EUROTECH GROUP:

The Eurotech Group ( www.eurotech.com ) is a global family of leading edge technology companies covering the most important and active market areas across three continents. With operations in Europe, North America and Asia, the Group serves the industrial, transportation, defense, security, aerospace, utilities, and research markets. The Eurotech Group includes Eurotech in Italy, Deutschland, Finland and China ( www.eurotech.it , www.eurotech.fi and www.eurotech.com.cn ), Parvus in USA ( www.parvus.com ), Erim in France (www.erim.fr) as well as Neuricam ( www.neuricam.com ), Exadron ( www.exadron.com ), Ascensit (www.ascensit.com), and IPS ( www.ipssistemi.it ) in Italy.

A New Celeron CPU Module with Gigabit Ethernet for Enhanced Communication Capabilities

CPU-1453
Eurotech today presents a new embedded Celeron processor module with Gigabit Ethernet functionality – the CPU-1453.

This new Eurotech CPU module will take advantage of high-speed communication capabilities delivered from its onboard Gigabit Ethernet controller, making the CPU-1453 an ideal solution for high-speed networking (i.e.: intelligent switches, routers, media gateways) and bandwidth-intensive applications, such as video streaming and video on demand (VOD) services. It will feature very low power consumption and not require any fan cooling to accommodate the requirements of embedded computing devices.

The CPU-1453 will feature the new Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) BGA Celeron 400MHz processor and integrate Intel?s fourth-generation Gigabit MAC design to provide a standard IEEE 802.3 Ethernet interface for 1000BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, and 10BASE-T applications (802.3ab, 802.3u, and 802.3). The board will be capable of transmitting and receiving data at rates of 1000 Mbps, 100 Mbps, or 10 Mbps. In addition to managing MAC and PHY layer functions, the product will provide a 32-bit wide direct PCI 2.2 compliant interface capable of operating at 33 MHz.

CPU-1450-00. A reliable Celeron PC/104-Plus Embedded Module for ruggedized systems


Eurotech is pleased to present a new module that is a low voltage Celeron based module, in a PC/104-Plus form factor: the CPU-1450-00.

The CPU-1450-00 has been designed to operate reliably in harsh environments. For this reason it is suitable for automotive (AVL/AVM), Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications and for security and surveillance (DVR) systems.

The CPU-1450-00 is an embedded board based on two modules: a mezzanine CPU module, stacked on top of a PC/104-Plus form factor carrier.
The CPU mezzanine of the CPU-1450-00 module is a small board that features the CPU processor and its Intel? 815E chipset with 133MHz maximum bus frequency. The processor is an ULV BGA Celeron 400MHz that has a low power consumption and is suitable for embedded applications. The system RAM is 256MB as standard. The processor doesn’t require any active cooling.
The carrier implements all the connections to the external world, including 4 USB ports, 1 Fast Ethernet interface (10/100Mbps), 2 Serial ports, 1 Parallel port, 1 Floppy port, 1 VGA interface, 1 AC97 audio sound interface, Keyboard, Mouse and an IDE controller that supports any type of IDE Flash devices (DiskonModule?, CompactFlash? and Flash Disk). The carrier also performs the connections for the ISA and PCI bridge enabling the CPU-1450-00 to stack on top of a PC/104-Plus system. The carrier can provide support for Watchdog management and Real Time Clock (external backup battery) and can be customized to match specific customer needs.

The module’s embedded BIOS is located in a 1MB Flash EPROM and is re-programmable onboard. The set-up parameters are saved in Flash to allow the module to operate without a battery.

The CPU-1450-00 supports any operating systems available for standard PC platforms: Win95/98/XP/NT/2000/CE?, VxWorks?, Linux?, ROM-DOS, QNX?.

CPU-1420. High integration CPU 5×86 133MHz with 4 serials and 2 Fast Ethernet ctrls

CPU-1420
Eurotech SpA. is releasing a low-power-consumption embedded 586-Enhanced Class Computer in a PC/104Plus form factor: the CPU-1420.

The CPU-1420 is an Embedded 586-class Computer in an extremely compact PC/104-Plus form factor that can be easily expanded with other PC/104 or PC/104Plus modules. The Module dimensions are: 90 mm x 96 mm (3.6? x 3.8?).

The module has a low-power-consumption core based on the AMD 520 running at 133MHz. The module can be equipped with 64 or 128 MB of SDRAM for demanding applications.

Integrated peripheral controllers are: four serial ports (two can be RS232/422/485), one bi-directional EPP/ECP parallel port, two 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet controllers, one standard IDE interface Keyboard, Mouse, 2 extra 16 bit Timers.

The Eurotech BIOS is easily customized and upgraded. It is re-programmable on-board and is located, with its extensions, in a 1 MB Flash EPROM. The BIOS needs 256KB, so 768KB are available to be used as Read-Only Disk to store the OS and the User Programs/Data. The set-up parameters are saved on the same Flash allowing the module to operate without a battery.

The module supports SSD (Solid State Disk) IDE devices such as DOM, Compact Flash and ATA Flash, that perform like standard Hard Disks, and can be used to store data in rugged conditions where standard devices cannot operate reliably. Other peripherals available on-board are: a Floppy Disk controller that is also multiplexed with the parallel port, the RTC and a Watch Dog.

With Dual Ethernet controllers and four serial ports, the CPU-1420 is particularly well suited for Communications Appliances, Protocol Converters, Routers and Gateways, especially in rugged environments.

The CPU-1420 supports several operating systems available for standard PC platforms, including: Windows 9x, Windows 2000, Windows NT, QNX, VxWorks, WinCE and Linux.

The module works with a single +5V only, and its power consumption is 4W (with 64MB of RAM), 5.5W (with 128 MB of RAM).

CTR-1470 : real time live MPEG-1 video encoder in a PC/104-Plus form factor

CTR_1470
Eurotech SpA has released a real time live MPEG-1 video encoder in a PC/104-Plus form factor.

The CTR-1470 is a high performance MPEG-1 Video Encoder which supports real-time video encoding. CTR-1470 provides a fast, high quality and cost-effective solution for use in professional video and Embedded PC systems based on PC/104-Plus modules. It enables a wide range of applications including video and audio capturing, encoding and authoring for Security systems, Web cameras, RVCD, Digital VCR and Embedded video editing systems. The CTR-1470 can be used to capture analog video (from handycam, VCR and other video devices), to encode it in MPEG-1 or M-JPEG and to send it to a host via the PCI bus. Thanks to its unique rate control algorithm and a dedicated hardware it produces high quality MPEG1 / M-JPEG video stream. The module can also capture a single frame from the live video input and store it into the 2MB SDRAM frame buffer on board. The extremely compact PC/104-Plus form factor and its high reliability characteristics allow the user to put this high resolution live video encoder in a system where rugged environmental conditions and space constraints are decisive factors.

In addition, the CTR-1470 supports many other interfaces like: a 16-bit 44KHz Audio input, 2 RS232 serial ports UART16550, 1 bidirectional parallel port SPP/ECP/EPP and 4 programmable digital I/Os.

All these features make the CTR-1470 a perfect solution for security or web cameras, digital VCR systems, Embedded Video Editing systems, external MPEG-1 video encoding boxes, Image processing devices, Surveillance systems.
CPU-1232
Eurotech SpA has released a new PC/104 CPU module based on NS Geode GX1 266-300MHz processor that gives you the power for the next generation embedded appliances.

The CPU-1232 integrates in a single CPU-board many features such as: LCD TFT SVGA controller with resolutions up to 1024×768, E-IDE interfaces for HDDs, ATA flash cards or DOM, 2 serial ports (UART 16550), 2 USB ports, 10/100Mbit Ethernet Controller, Audio port Sound-blaster compatible, keyboard port, bidirectional parallel port EPP-ECP, FDC, mouse. Other functions on-board are: SSD socket with up to 288 MB of Solid State Disk, watchdog, real-time clock. Moreover the CPU-1232 can be equipped with up to 128MB SDRAM in order to satisfy high demanding graphical applications.

With this module Eurotech has integrated a whole PC board and many other features in a single 3,6? x 3,8? (90 x 96 mm) module. This makes the CPU-1232 the right choice when high performance, high reliability and space-constrained environments are decisive factors.

The board is PC/104 compliant and can be expanded easily with other PC/104 modules, in order to improve the features of your PC/104 system such as: Video MPEG-1 compressor, PCMCIA controller or other communication and data acquisition modules. Thanks to its high-integration the board can be used as an SBC in many embedded applications.

The CPU-1232 is fully Intel Pentium compatible: this is the reason why it supports any operating system available for the standard PC platform such as ROM_DOS, Windows, Linux as well a real-time operating systems like QNX , VxWork, WinCE and RT_Linux.

The CPU-1232 is an ideal choice for auto-navigation devices, medical devices, communication devices, routers & gateways, Internet appliances, and any other application requiring network capabilities and high performances in a small and rugged form factor.

An extended temperature version of the module is available upon request.

CPU-1231: High-Performance/High-Reliability PentiumMMX PC/104 module with SVGA,2 USB,10/100 Mbps NIC


Eurotech SpA has released a new PC/104 CPU module based on a Pentium 233MMX-like processor that gives you the power for the next generation embedded appliances.

The CPU-1231 integrates in a single CPU-board many features such as: EIDE interfaces, SVGA with resolutions up to 1024×768, 2 serial ports (UART 16550), 2 USB ports, 10/100Mbit Ethernet Controller, keyboard port, bidirectional parallel port EPP-ECP, FDC, mouse. Other functions on-board are: SSD socket with up to 288 MB of Solid State Disk, watchdog, real-time clock. Moreover the CPU-1231 can be equipped with up to 128MB DRAM in order to satisfy highly demanding graphical applications.

With this module Eurotech has integrated a whole PC board and many other features in a single 3,6? x 3,8? (91 x 96 mm) module. This makes the CPU-1231 the right choice when high performance, high reliability and space-constrained environments are decisive factors.

The board is PC/104 compliant and can be expanded easily with other PC/104 modules, in order to improve the features of your PC/104 system such as: SCSI controllers, PCMCIA controllers, Data Acquisition, Digital I/O and so on. Thanks to its high-integration the board can be used as an SBC in embedded applications.

The CPU-1231 is fully Intel Pentium compatible: this is the reason why it supports any operating system available for the standard PC platform such as DOS, ROM_DOS, Windows 3.11, 95, 98, 2000 and NT, Linux as well as real-time operating systems like QNX , pSOS, PHARLAP, VxWork, WinCE and RT_Linux.

The CPU-1231 is an ideal choice for auto-navigation devices, medical devices, communication devices, routers & gateways, Internet appliances, and any other application requiring network capabilities and high performances in a small and rugged form factor.

COM-1270 PC/104® Multi Communication Module with NIC, 2 CAN, 8 COMs

Eurotech SpA is proud to announce a new PC/104? module that improves communication features in PC/104? systems.

The COM-1270 integrates in a single module a wide range of communication ports: 8 serial ports, 2 CAN ports and a 10 Mbit Ethernet Controller.

The 8 serial ports are splitted in two groups: 4 serial ports are RS-232 and 4 can be configured either as RS232 or RS422/485. All serial ports share the same interrupt line.

The 2 CAN channels have a max. speed rate of 1.2 Mbps and can be equipped with RS485 or F.O. transceivers that are ESD and EMI protected.

The NIC is a 10 Mbps Ethernet controller. It is NE-2000 compatible and supports TP and AUI connections.

The combination in one module of Ethernet, CAN and Serials, makes the COM-1270 an ideal choice for intelligent I/O, communication devices, routers & gateways and any other application requiring communication capabilities and PC compatibility in a small and rugged form factor.

Drivers are available for many operating systems such as ROM_DOS, Windows 3.11, Windows 95/98,Windows NT, Linux as well as real-time operating systems like QNX and VxWork.

The COM-1270 is part of a wide and complete family of PC/104 modules that includes: CPUs, Peripheral & Communications Modules, Data Acquisition Modules.