Thursday, November 29, 2012

AVT reaching for third base

Camera-maker AVT is on a roll, according to third quarter results from parent Augusta. Unlike most holding companies, Augusta separates out the results for their Vision group, which includes LMI as well as AVT, so we can get a good sense of market conditions. And if increased revenues and profit margins are any indication, the conditions are pretty good.

For those interested in the actual numbers, sales were up 13% and gross margin rose 2.6 points to 55.1%. But perhaps of greater interest is where the growth came from.

Augusta cites two contributing factors: continued strength in Asia, and the adoption of AVT Prosilica cameras in US baseball stadia.

That last one caught me by surprise, so I did some digging. If you watch America’s favorite pastime on TV you’ll have noticed how they can now show the ball’s trajectory. This comes courtesy of a technology called “PitchF/X”. There’s a video on the Sportvision website that shows how the system works. Interestingly though, the video discusses three cameras while Augusta say four are used in every stadium. It could be that these are not the same systems, but I suspect it’s more likely there’s some redundancy built-in.

And if you’re interested in the size of that market, apparently there are 30 Major League Baseball stadia in the US, so that’s 120 cameras. A tidy, although not huge, camera market.

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