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(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sun Microsystems will continue to invest in Israel as a growth area despite a major restructuring at the network software provider, which helped it move into the black for the first time in six quarters.
"We keep our ears and eyes open all the time for potential acquisition targets and analyze where there are competence gaps and Israel is full of pockets of competence," said Jean Paul Bergmans, Sun's VP of the South Eastern Europe region told The Jerusalem Post on a recent visit to Israel - his first since taking his new position in charge of the area last July.
Bergmans' visit coincided with the release of Sun's financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2007 in which the company reported a profit for the first time in a year-and-a-half with net income of $126 million for the quarter, or 3 cents a share, compared to a loss of $223m., or 7 cents a share, in the parallel quarter last year.
It also follows a major restructuring at the company announced in May 2006 in which the maker of computer servers said it would cut up to 5,000 jobs, or 13 percent of its work force.
Chief Financial Officer Mike Lehman said in the earnings release that Sun would continue to eliminate workers as needed to pare costs and that it aims to reach a 4% operating margin in the fourth quarter of 2007 and a longer-term goal of 10%.
Yet, Boaz Yehuda, general manager of Sun Microsystems Israel said he was confident the restructuring would not have a major impact on the local operation.
"In the future, it is hard to tell, but I'm not expecting a big influence if at all. The restructuring that we went through did not affect us at all last year," Yehuda said. "Overall, we've been growing in terms of people and we are in very rapid growth in the country even higher than anywhere else. We expect to continue to see the rapid growth we saw in the last four years in 2007."
Sun has around 110 engineers in Israel for its R&D activities and approximately 50 sales and logistics personnel, which was largely boosted by its acquisition of local start-up Aduva in March last year adding to its R&D set-up in Israel.
The Israel development group is involved in activities in Java programming language mainly for mobile devices.
With its heavy emphasis on research and technology, Israel seems well placed to play a key role as the company looks to build on its newly acquired profits.
"A technology company can only survive with good products and technology," Bergmans said. "We will continue to invest in R&D and in acquiring and integrating technology as we have always done and will continue to do."