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Heard on the Street Index

Issue: July 2002

By: Frank Bisbee

Headline News

Featured Story


Corporate Scandals are in the spotlight. President Bush is considering tougher penalties for corporate executives caught in financial wrongdoing. At this point, no amount of sword waving is likely to rebuild confidence in corporate America and, buy extension, in financial markets that were rocked on 9/11 and have had a series of repeated reports of misdeeds by some of the nations largest companies. July 2002 began with the Dow Jones averages in the same range that marked the 9/11/2001 disaster. The recovery seems elusive.

Last year, the US Telecommunications industry suffered its worst job losses in history. This year, 2002, Telecom job losses could exceed last years hammering. The proposed 165,840 job cuts already announced through the end of June 2002, exceed last years job cuts (130,422) for the first half by more than 27%. It is a safe bet that the final casualty report may surpass 2001's record of 317,777 jobs lost.

In the "Big Picture", the losses in the Telecom world represent 1 out of every 4 jobs lost in the first half of this year in all US industries. OUCH! The price we are paying for the excesses of the past few years is steep. Remember, " if it seems too good to be true, then it probably isn't". Quite a few people have learned that lesson, me included. The climb back to a healthy market will be rigorous and take twice as long as we expect. One thing for certain, you can quit judging your investments and the companies by their quarterly report. That sort of short sighted thinking is what got us in this jam in the first place. CEO's have a huge burden to guide their companies to success and none of them can do it in a single quarter. Any attempt to streamline the corporation into performance sectors by quarter, is ridiculous.

If you are looking for solid corporate citizens in the world of cabling, you need look no further than the top dogs in Wireville. In cable manufacturing, CDT (Cable Design Technologies), Belden, and Nexans' Berk-Tek lead the pack. In the highly competitive world of distribution, Anixter, Graybar, Rexel, and CSC dominate the field with quality, quality, quality as their first line of business. Any of these companies are worth your time to scrutinize for investment or product purchase. There are many other outstanding companies in the communications infrastructure business. This industry has already performed it's exorcism as the sizzle became the big time fizzle. The recent approval of CAT 6 cabling standards and the recognition of improved safety with Limited Combustible Cable, has given the marketplace a substantial barrier to obsolescence as they cable for today's demands and tomorrow's needs.

Cable Design Technologies' Thermax Subsidiary Signs Specialty Wire 5 Year Long Term Agreement With The Boeing Company

Cable Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA) (NYSE: CDT) announced today that Thermax/CDT has been awarded a 5-year Long Term Agreement with The Boeing Company. Thermax/CDT will supply high performance and specialty wire and cables to Boeing Commercial Airplane. Under this contract, Thermax/CDT will support the 737, 747, 767, 777, and 717 airplane programs for Boeing Commercial Airplane. Thermax/CDT will also continue to support Boeing Military programs including C-17, F-18, AH-64, as well as other military platforms under different buying programs.

In discussing the announcement, Mr. Robert Canny, CDT Group Vice President, Specialty Products, commented, "Thermax/CDT has been doing business with The Boeing Company for over 25 years. We are pleased with the agreement as it solidifies a long term and mutually beneficial business relationship between The Boeing Company and Thermax/CDT."

About CDT

Thermax/CDT, a subsidiary of Cable Design Technologies, is a provider of high performance wire and cable to the aerospace, automotive, and telecommunication industries.

Cable Design Technologies is a leading designer and manufacturer of high bandwidth network connectivity products, fiber optic cable and connectors, assemblies, components, computer interconnect cables for communication switching applications, and communication cable products used in wireless, central office and local loop applications. CDT also manufactures electronic data and signal transmission products that are used in automation and process control and specialty applications.

KRONE announces new multimode fiber line

KRONE has announced a new line of multimode fiber cables. The 50-micron Ultra multimode fiber cables are designed to meet the increasingly demanding bandwidth requirements of enterprise networks and support serial 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps) transmission up to 300 meters at the lower-cost 850nm window. The Ultra fiber is laser optimized to support the latest low-cost Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs), and adheres to current guidance in the IEEE 802.3 10 Gigabit Ethernet standard.

"The 50-micron Ultra fiber enables KRONE to deliver a highly economical 10 Gigabit structured-cabling solution to the marketplace," says Ron Lowy, chief operating officer at KRONE. "KRONE supports the trend toward 50-micron fiber and recognizes its inherent advantages in today's demanding networks."

KRONE recommends 50-micron multimode fiber cables for new construction in enterprise-network applications. Their high bandwidth specification at the 850nm window provides a clear advantage over 62.5-micron products in Ethernet reach.

The new fiber is compliant with standards for 10 Gigabit and all legacy Ethernet applications. TIA/EIA 568-B.3, the newest commercial building standard specifically for optical networks, adopts 50-micron fiber as an approved transmission medium. All of KRONE's fiber cable product lines support the use of the new 50-micron Ultra product and existing multimode solutions.

KRONE manufactures structured-cabling solutions for enterprise and public networks. For more information visit

Berk-Tek to Offer Complete Limited Combustible Copper UTP Product Offering

Anticipating further tightening of air return plenum space requirements after the recent NFPA conference, the company expands its CMP-50 product line; from Enhanced CAT 6 to CAT 3 four-pair UTP cables.

Berk-Tek, (New Holland, PA) a Nexans company, is the first manufacturer to offer a complete product offering for Limited Combustible-rated (CMP-50) Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables. The company added the more fire retardant version of plenum cable to its LANmark-2000 (Enhanced CAT 6) and its LANmark-1000 (CAT 6) high performance four-pair UTP cables.

Continuing concern about the accumulation of combustible materials sparked activity at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) National Conference, held this May. Based on conversations within the NFPA-90A Group the group that controls fire safety and installation practices for heating and ventilating equipment Dan Kennefick, Berk-Tek copper products business manager, anticipates changes to fire safety standards.

We expect changes that will call for further tightening of fire safety standards in the plenum space, Kennefick said.

To combat the growing concern of the increase in fire loads in air return plenums, Berk-Tek launched its CMP-50 rated products less than a year ago for its LANmark-350 (Enhanced CAT 5e), Hyper Plus 5e (CAT 5) and Category 3 cables.

The products are jacketed and insulated with FEP fluoropolymer and have been tested by Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) to meet the CMP-50 requirements for lower smoke emissions and less flame spread. All Limited Combustible cables meet the same electrical specifications as the CMP and CMR rated versions.

The CMP-50 classification does not eliminate CMP and OFNP plenum cables. The limited combustible rating is additive, as an established fire safe option in air return plenum installations.

Ortronics offering RCDD prep course

Ortronics has announced that it will offer a five-day training course aimed at preparing students for BICSI's Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) examination.

"The course will focus on study efforts and provide students with valuable study aids, such as a study guide manual, flash cards, and practice exams," Ortronics said in a release announcing the course. "This intensive course takes place over five days with the BICSI RCDD exam given on the sixth day."

Ortronics plans to hold classes in Orlando, FL September 9-13 (RCDD exam on the 14th), in Chicago, IL October 21-25 (RCDD exam on the 26th), and at Ortronics headquarters in New London, CT November 18-22 (RCDD exam on the 23rd).

The course is open to any BICSI member.

Pirelli`s Enhanced Fibre Specifications Set New Standards in the Optical Industry

Pirelli Telecom Cables and Systems (Milan, Italy) announced a new set of improved specifications for three key products in its optical fibre range; Standard Single Mode, MagniLightTM and FreeLightTM fibres.

Providing tighter specifications permits cable manufacturers and network operators to build their products and services on a high quality foundation. Several important parameters have been modified providing enhanced optical performance together with improvements in geometrical characteristics, which impact on critical operations such as splicing.

All three fibre types, Standard Single Mode, MagniLightTM (G.652 fibre with the 1385nm water peak removed) and FreeLightTM (G.655 fibre for long distance, high bit rate applications) have benefited from Pirelli`s process improvements. Both the fibre cladding diameter and external coating diameter now feature tolerances tightened by 30%; the cladding diameter is now 125±0.7mm with a coating diameter of 245 + 5mm. Furthermore, core/cladding concentricity error on Standard Single Mode fibre has been reduced by nearly 40% to a value of GBP 0.5 mm, matching the tight tolerance already offered by FreeLightTM.

Attenuation characteristics have been further improved. A reduction of 20% brings MagniLightTM down to 0.20dB/km at 1550nm and the fibre now also exhibits a best in class measurement at 1625nm of <0.24dB/km. Standard Single Mode fibre instead features an improved attenuation at 1385nm of <1.0dB/km. Whatever the band the operator wishes to use, be it the existing C-band or the emerging L-band or the futuristic E-band, Pirelli fibre offers the best solution.

"How can you tell a world class fibre? I think from the confidence a manufacturer has in the repeatability and integrity of the production process. And Pirelli has transformed this confidence into a reality for our customers" said Sergio Antoci, Senior Product Manager, Fibre and Preforms.

In addressing the area of Polarisation Mode Dispersion (PMD) Pirelli can now offer a world best for Standard Single Mode fibre, halving the fibre PMD coefficient to <0.1ps/Ökm. These results have been obtained by significant and continuing investments in research and development, confirming Pirelli`s intention to continue taking the lead in the future of optical technologies.

"With this new record of fibre PMD coefficient, Pirelli maintains its single mode fibres as the best foundation to support future transmission at 40Gbit/s and above" added Antoci.

Pirelli Telecom Cables and Systems is one of the world's foremost suppliers of telecommunications cable systems and is part of the Pirelli SpA Group which employs more than 39,000 people in 84 plants across the globe. In 2001 it achieved a turnover of more than Euro 7,500 billion, continuing to maintain a strong emphasis on innovative research.

First Category 6 Compliant Hybrid Cables Available from Hitachi Cable Manchester

Hitachi Cable Manchester, Inc.'s (Manchester, NH) GoldLanTM family of hybrid cables has been expanded to include the industry's first category 6 hybrid cables approved for use in c(UL) CMR/FT4 riser-rated applications. Available configurations include three 4-pair cables (3x4), four 4'pair cables (4x4), and six 4-pair (6x4) cables covered by an overall thermoplastic jacket. These category 6 cables are fully component-compliant to the hybrid requirements specified in TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 (TIA category 6 standard) and have been certified for conformance by an independent third-party test laboratory.

The advantages of specifying hybrid cables include a reduction in the number of individual cables brought to each workstation and the use of color-coding to identify applications. Hybrid cables are an ideal means to support redundant voice and data services in critical service areas such as trading floors and communications centers.

More Deep Cuts at Corning Cable Systems

Corning Inc ., the world's largest maker of fiber-optic cable, announced that Corning Cable Systems would eliminate more than 600 positions through a downsizing of its Americas organization and the restructuring of its Optical Assembly Plant in Hickory, N.C. The company said in a statement that the actions, along with the previously announced closing of Corning Cable Systems' Puerto Rico facility, represent a 10 percent cut in the entire unit's total Americas work force.

Corning Cable Systems officials also said that they have begun the process of proposing a reorganization of their European facilities with appropriate employee representatives. Final European decisions will be announced in the next several weeks, as soon as agreements can be reached by all appropriate parties. The actions are part of the overall restructuring plans Corning announced in April. At that time, the company said it expected to eliminate about 4,000 positions and take a number of additional steps including consolidation of organizations, plant closures, elimination of some research and development operations, and potential sale of some smaller businesses. "While these actions are extremely regrettable, they are necessary to respond to the significant decline in the telecommunications industry," Larry Aiello, Jr., president and chief executive, Corning Cable Systems, said in the Tuesday release. "We are resizing our organization to retain our competitive advantage in the global market and adapt to the reduced business expectations of our customers." Corning also said it would make additional restructuring and headcount reduction announcements as decisions are finalized throughout the second and third quarters. The company plans to provide details on cost-reduction estimates associated with these and other restructuring actions in its second-quarter financial report in late July. Previously, the company said that it expected to take total restructuring and impairment charges in the range of $600 million pretax spread over the second and third quarters of 2002 as a result of these and other restructuring actions.

CDT Appoints Robert Canny to Head Domestic Specialty Products Group;

Group Will Capitalize on Synergies Present Between Business Units

Cable Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA) announced that Robert Canny has been promoted to Vice President of its newly formed Specialty Products Group. The Specialty Products Group will be formed by the consolidation of the AWI, Barcel, Dearborn, Manhattan, Montrose and Thermax business units.

Prior to accepting the position of Group Vice President, Specialty Products, Mr. Canny was general manger of the Thermax business unit of CDT since 1997, where he was responsible for business development, customer acquisition, and sales channel development and expansion. Additionally, Canny's responsibilities included the American portion of the CDT Aerospace Group, which includes Barcel/CDT in Irvine, CA. During his 15 years at Thermax, he served in a number of positions of increasing responsibility.

Prior to joining the company, Canny held management and technical positions at Rockbestos, Times Fiber and RFS Cablewave Systems. He has over 22 years of industry experience. Canny holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from The University of New Haven.

"Bob brings a wealth of experience and technical expertise to this newly created position," commented Fred Kuznik, CDT Chief Executive Officer. "We are confident in his leadership abilities and believe that he has the attitude it takes to excel as head of the Specialty Products Group and at CDT."

"I am very excited about this opportunity and am eager to begin building the specialty product units into one cohesive team," said Robert Canny. "The business units involved in this consolidation are all top-notch facilities and experts in their respective fields. The creation of the Specialty Products Group will allow us to centralize certain functions and capitalize on the synergies between units. We will preserve the brand names of each unit and maintain specialized sales forces to ensure personalized customer interaction.

I look forward to leading the Specialty Products Group and am committed to continually delivering highly-engineered, innovative products to our customers."

About the Specialty Products Group

The Specialty Products Group consists of business units that design and manufacture products used in aerospace, automation and process control, automotive, broadcast, commercial aviation, instrumentation, marine, military, medical, robotic, sound, safety, security and video applications. The Group will leverage its expertise in the custom design of products that meet specific requirements including weight reduction, improved flexibility and resistance to fluids, moisture, abrasion, radiation and temperature.

About CDT

Cable Design Technologies is a leading designer and manufacturer of high bandwidth network connectivity products, assemblies, components, and communication cable products used in wireless and local loop applications. CDT also manufactures electronic data and signal transmission products that are used in a wide range of specialty applications.

Cablofil Trapeze Hung Installations are Twice as Fast with New AS Trapeze Clip

Cablofil has improved one of it's best selling support accessories, making trapeze-hung installations twice as easy and twice as fast with Cablofil wire cable tray! The new design of the AS Trapeze Clip integrates Cablofil's FAS (Fast Assembly System) by simply folding down a tab to securely hold Cablofil wire cable tray in place. The AS Trapeze Clip is fastened to threaded rod by snapping it into the proper sized groove, and folding a tab upwards. This method is re-engineered to provide support for all common sizes of threaded rod - 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2". No special tools are needed, only a screwdriver or wrench! Eliminating the need for poly grommets, the new design makes trapeze-hung installations even faster!

By cutting down on unnecessary support systems and complications, Cablofil's AS Trapeze Clip proves to provide a more profitable and less time consuming installation. Other support accessories are available from Cablofil, including a wide range of brackets and profiles that are adaptable to virtually every type of application.

Cablofil wire cable tray is constructed of precision-engineered, high quality, welded steel wire. It will adapt to almost any configuration, enabling it to handle 90-degree turns, easily twist around obstructions and make multiple level changes. Cablofil wire cable tray is designed to save time and includes everything required to make installation effortless. A comprehensive range of accessories makes any project simple to complete.

Belden Announces Opening of Its Networking Interoperability Lab

As an extension of its customer-focused Quality program, Belden Electronics Division (Richmond, IN), a leading manufacturer of cable for the networking, entertainment, home automation and industrial markets, announces the opening of its Networking Interoperability Lab. The Lab will be an integral part of Belden's R&D and product development programs, it will facilitate customer-driven and/or joint research projects with other networking industry leaders, and it will serve to identify a variety of link and channel test and performance issues of interest to the industry at-large.

A particularly unique aspect of the Lab's charter is its commitment to perform statistically valid testing programs by including a significantly larger than usual number of test runs, or set-ups, than is typical for their industry. For instance, in order to quantify and evaluate product set performance, Belden will base its results upon a sampling of links and channels up to 30 times greater than comparable test labs. At present, the Networking Interoperability Lab is comprised of an unprecedented 3,000 testable link and channel configurations -- with the expectation that they will achieve over 5,000 testable configurations in the very near future.

According to Rod Sampson, RCDD, Belden's Commercial Markets Marketing Manager, "The benefits for the customer will be both immediate and far- reaching since the Lab will offer a wealth of new information relative to cabling, network connectivity and channel performance -- plus, for the first time, the end-user will have a clearcut way of evaluating the cabling products that exist in the marketplace."

About Belden Electronics Division

Belden Electronics Division, a unit of Belden Inc., is a leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of specialty wire and cable products for the electronics and electrical markets. Belden Electronics Division is headquartered in Richmond, Indiana. Belden has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary, with distribution centers in the U.S., Canada, Singapore, Australia and the Netherlands. A majority of Belden's manufacturing, engineering, and support functions are registered to the International Organization for Standardization.

Berk-Tek LANmark(TM)Enhanced UTP Products Verified To TIA Category 6 Standard

After five years of active involvement on the standards committee and consistent third party verification through each draft phase, Berk-Tek's UTP cables are certified as CAT 6 compliant.

Berk-Tek, (New Holland, PA) a Nexans company, announces that its LANmark(TM)-2000 and LANmark(TM)-1000 series of Enhanced UTP horizontal and patch cables received independent verification as meeting the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Category 6 standard.

On June 20, 2002, TIA published the standard for Category 6 cabling systems. Under development for five years, this standard addresses the need for cabling systems with improved transmission performance to support current and future applications.

Berk-Tek actively participated on the TIA committee that created the new standard. For each ballet and draft phase the company verified its products through ITS ETL SEMKO, and frequently was first to publish certificates of verification.

"During the Category 6 standard's development our LANmark-1000 cables exceeded each new draft of the standard's cable performance requirements," said Todd Harpel, Berk-Tek Marketing Manager.

LANmark-1000 cables have met the final '568-B.2-1 Category 6 cable specifications for the last two years, he said. Moreover, he added that Berk-Tek's LANmark-2000 Enhanced Category 6 UTP cables-introduced in January 2001-substantially exceeds LANmark-1000 and Category 6 performance.

"Our product design anticipated changing developments in the standards process," Harpel said. Berk-Tek is satisfied that the Category 6 standard meets all initial goals set by the standards committee, including frequency range and critical performance parameters. "We have a new blueprint for cabling systems that truly supports new gigabit applications," Harpel said.

Developed by the TIA-42.7 Sub-committee, in cooperation with several working groups, Category 6 cabling systems have an operating bandwidth of 200 MHz and are tested to 250 MHz. All the components that make up a cabling channel are specified to ensure compatibility between component manufacturers' products and backward compatible to previous Category 5e, and Category 5 cabling systems. These include the cable, patch cordage, connecting hardware and patch cables. In addition to component specifications, the standard specifies permanent link and channel requirements for installed cabling.

New President of the International Copper Association

Francis J. Kane has been named President of the International Copper Association, Ltd. (ICA). Kane replaces Jan Smolders, who served in this position since 1996. ICA is the leading organization for promoting the use of copper worldwide. ICA increases awareness and usage of copper by communicating the unique attributes that make this sustainable element an essential contributor to the formation of life, to advances in science and technology, and to a higher standard of living throughout the world. "We are delighted to have someone of Frank's caliber on board to lead ICA," said ICA Chairman Juan Villarzu. "His extensive metals industry and management experience will prove invaluable as ICA continues with its efforts to accelerate the growth in the use of copper worldwide."

Draka CFO to step down

Draka Holding NV's (Amsterdam) supervisory board said that chief financial officer and member of the management board, JMM van der Ven, is stepping down as of August 31 and, until a successor is appointed, his responsibilities will be assumed by the current chief executive, SJ van Kesteren.

Draka also said a resolution will be put to an extraordinary shareholders meeting on August 28 appointing G Artinian and C Raskin to the board of management as of September 1.

Artinian is currently director of operations for the low-voltage and special-purpose cable product group. Raskin, also director of operations, is currently responsible for the telecommunication cable and systems product group.

In their new posts, both will continue to be responsible for their respective product groups.

Corning Proposes European Workforce Reductions,

Consolidation of Operations in Latest Phase of Downsizing Plan

Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) today announced that Corning Cable Systems has proposed a re-organisation of its European operations, as part of the corporation's ongoing workforce reduction programme. This proposal would affect approximately 720 employees by year-end 2002.

Corning Cable Systems also plans to centralise many of its commercial, management and manufacturing operations within Europe. Under the proposed plan, commercial operations would be consolidated within a newly established center in Berlin, Germany and the businesses' Guildford, England customer service center and administrative offices in Munich, Germany would be closed. Corning Cable Systems' international sales and marketing function would remain in Munich, Germany.

The company also proposes to consolidate its optical cable manufacturing activities in Neustadt bei Coburg, Germany and to close its Whiston, England and Berlin, Germany cable plants. Corning Cable Systems idled the Whiston facility in February 2002.

In addition, the business proposes to consolidate its production of cable assemblies and fiber-optic hardware in Lodz, Poland, discontinuing its cable assembly operations in Neustadt. These consolidation actions are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2003.

Corning Proposes European Workforce Reductions

"This proposal to re-organise our European operations is in response to the prolonged downturn in the telecommunications industry," said Larry Aiello, president and chief executive officer of Corning Cable Systems. "We must face current business realities and, regrettably, propose these necessary actions to offset dramatically reduced customer demand. We are committed to working together with employee representatives to ensure that those affected by this proposal will be treated with dignity and respect."

These actions are part of the overall restructuring plans Corning announced in April. At that time, the company said it expected to eliminate about 4,000 positions and take a number of additional steps including consolidation of organizations, plant closures, elimination of some research and development operations, and potential sale of some smaller businesses. With today's announcement, Corning anticipates that it will have eliminated approximately 3,400 of the expected 4,000 positions.

Further reductions throughout Corning's global network will take place as decisions are finalized, company officials said. Corning will provide details on cost reduction estimates associated with these and other restructuring actions in its second-quarter financial report in late July. Previously, the company said that it expected to take total restructuring and impairment charges in the range of $600 million pretax spread over the second and third quarters of 2002 as a result of these and other restructuring actions.

Events for July 2002

BICSI Europe Conference
July 1 – 4
Munich, Germany

Elliott Technical Services
Fiber Optics Training course
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
July 8 - 12, 2002. or (905) 516 6661

July 10- 12
Toronto, Canada

ACUTA 31st Annual Conference & Exhibition
July 14 - 18
Reno, NV

CRM Solutions
July 29 - Aug 1
Chicago, IL

Data Network Design and Performance Optimization
July 30-August 2
Ottawa, Ontario

Coming in August

BICSI Fall Conference
Aug 19 - 22
New Orleans, LA

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