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Timothy Tomlinson , director, exercised an option for 1,500 shares of common at $3.25 each on Feb. 1 and sold 1,500 shares between $16.28 and $16.30 each on Feb. 1 and now directly and indirectly holds 27,976.

CMF654M9900FHR6_Vishay Dale_Through Hole Resistors

Timothy Tomlinson , director, exercised an option for 1,500 shares of common at $3.25 each on Feb. 1 and sold 1,500 shares between $16.28 and $16.30 each on Feb. 1 and now directly and indirectly holds 27,976.

The quarter's top line improvement reflects a sharp increase in new product sales,” said John Daane, president and CEO.

Once the gold dust of the electronics industry, tantalum powder is losing its luster and choking some capacitor makers.

CMF654M9900FHR6_Vishay Dale_Through Hole Resistors

Nobody, it seems, wants truckloads of tantalum powder piling up in warehouses around the world. OEMs carrying excess inventory have scaled back new capacitor orders, leaving suppliers stuck with depressed average selling prices and too much manufacturing capacity.

The whole electronics supply chain is filled with too much inventory, and people don't need to buy as much tantalum powder as they did in 2000 and 2001,” said Lee Sallade, head of the U.S. electronic and optics group at H.C. Starck GmbH, the No. 2 global tantalum powder supplier. People bought more tantalum powder than they needed.”

That error could exact a high price from some companies in the electronics industry. Last week, Cabot Corp., which controls 50% of the global tantalum powder market, sued two of its biggest customers, allegedly for noncompliance with the terms of contracts signed two years ago. Analysts said OEM procurement executives may want to keep an eye on the lawsuits because the outcomes could influence how suppliers react to future contractual deals.

CMF654M9900FHR6_Vishay Dale_Through Hole Resistors

Tons of supplier contracts were signed in 2000, with OEMs walking away from deals when things turned bad,” said Matthew Sheerin, an analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, New York. OEMs have to be prepared for suppliers not being very agreeable during periods of shortages.”

Interestingly, Kemet Corp. and Vishay Intertechnology Inc., the two capacitor manufacturers hauled before a Massachusetts court by Cabot, declined to seek legal intervention when they were unable to enforce similar take or pay” agreements signed with OEMs and EMS companies during a widespread components shortage in 2000.

CMF654M9900FHR6_Vishay Dale_Through Hole Resistors

We have not sued any customers because we think it's bad for business,” said a spokesman for Kemet, Greenville, S.C.

Cabot isn't buying that argument. The Boston-based chemicals company said it is protecting its rights by asking Kemet and Vishay to abide by the terms of the three- to five-year contracts signed in 2000. Cabot also said it tried unsuccessfully to work with the companies to revise the terms of the contract when demand plunged in mid-2001.

The LTC3718 is targeted at systems that have low voltage supplies ranging from 3.3 to 1.5 V. The LTC3717, on the other hand, operates from 4.5- to 36-V range, making it well suited for network switches, routers, OC-192 systems, and OC-768 systems.

Pricing: In 1000-unit quantities, the LTC3717 is priced at $2.95 while the LTC3718 is priced at $3.45Data Sheets: LTC3717–http://www.linear.com/prod/datasheet.html?datasheet=837LTC3718–http://www.linear.com/prod/datasheet.html?datasheet=849

Linear Technology, www.linear.com

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's ASE Test Ltd., the world's largest independent provider of semiconductor test services, reported sales of $69 million for the first quarter ended March 31, down 33% from the first period of 2001 but up 2% sequentially.

The company's first-quarter net loss amounted to $13.9 million, compared with a deficit of $13.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2001 and a profit of $7 million in the like period a year ago.

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