The Globe 100
Market value 100
Return on equity 100
Top profit margins
2000 Mass. IPOs
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this year's Globe 100
| 2000 Globe 100 |
5. HELIX TECHNOLOGY CORP.
elix Technology, of Mansfield, usually operates well out of sight, little-known except to the handful of companies that buy its cryogenic vacuum pumping systems - at an average price of $20,000.
Those buyers depend on Helix for these systems, which are essential components of the machines that they build and sell to the semiconductor industry for manufacturing computer chips. The company's customer list includes Applied Materials Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc. of Gloucester, and Axcelis Technologies Inc. of Beverly.
Even behind-the-scenes companies such as Helix, though, couldn't duck the spotlight as the semiconductor industry last year went through one of its biggest upswings ever. This is Helix's second appearance in five years on The Globe 100's top 10 list. In 1996, Helix placed 10th.
There was certainly no arguing with Helix's numbers. Revenue of $253.1 million was up 82 percent from 1999. Operating income more than tripled, to $62.6 million. Diluted earnings were $2.02 per share, up from $1.32 the year before.
The limited market for these pump systems has risks, however. A single company, Applied Materials, accounted for 40 percent of Helix's revenue in 2000.
To offset this, Helix has expanded the services it provides for end users of its pumps - companies that buy those chip-making machines, including Intel, IBM, and Seimens.
The latest addition is Helix's GoldLink remote monitoring and diagnostics service. Specialists stationed in Mansfield keep an around-the-clock watch on machine operations at 25 semiconductor fabrication plants around the world.
Robert J. Lepofsky, Helix's president and chief executive since 1989, said services, including GoldLink, account for 40 percent of Helix's revenues, up from 30 percent a few years
''There is now a core continuity underlying this industry's severe cyclicality,'' he said.
This core is likely to increase in importance. First-quarter revenues were down more than one-third from the final quarter of 2000, and employment has fallen from a peak of 1,100 last year to about 800.
Most of those laid off were temporary manufacturing workers, Lepofsky said, who would be rehired if business improves. In the meantime, Helix is hiring for its service operations.
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