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NANO > SEC Filings for NANO > Form 10-K on 7-Mar-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for NANOMETRICS INC



Annual Report


You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with "Selected Financial Data" and our consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including, but not limited to, those presented under "Risk Factors" in Item 1A and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Please see "Cautionary Information Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" at the beginning of this Form 10-K for additional information you should consider regarding forward-looking statements. We are an innovator in the field of metrology and inspection systems for semiconductor manufacturing and other industries. Our systems are designed to precisely monitor film thickness and critical dimensions that are necessary to control the manufacturing process and to identify defects that can affect production yields and performance.
Principal factors that impact our revenue growth include capital expenditures by manufacturers of semiconductors to increase capacity and to enable their development of new technologies, and our ability to improve market share. The increasing complexity of the manufacturing processes for semiconductors is an important factor in the demand for our innovative metrology systems, as are the adoption of optical critical dimension ("OCD") metrology across fabrication processes, immersion lithography and double patterning, new types of thin film materials, advanced packaging strategies and wafer backside inspection, and the need for improved process control to drive process efficiencies. Our strategy is to continue to innovate organically as well as to evaluate strategic acquisitions to address business challenges and opportunities.
Our revenues are primarily derived from product sales but are also derived from customer service and system upgrades for the installed base of our products. In 2013, we derived 74.4% of our total net revenues from product sales and 25.6% of our total net revenues from services.
Important Themes and Significant Trends
The semiconductor equipment industry is characterized by cyclical growth. Changing trends in the semiconductor industry continue to drive the need for metrology as a major component of manufacturing systems. These trends include:

Proliferation of Optical Critical Dimension Metrology across Fabrication Processes. Our customers use photolithographic processes to create patterns on wafers. Critical dimensions must be carefully controlled during this process. In advanced node device definition, additional monitoring of thickness and profile dimensions on these patterned structures at CMP, Etch, and Thin Film processing is driving broader OCD adoption. Our proprietary OCD systems can provide the critical process control of these circuit dimensions that is necessary for successful manufacturing of these state-of-the-art devices. Nanometrics OCD technology is broadly adopted across NAND, DRAM, HDD, and logic semiconductor manufacturing processes.

Adoption of Advanced Packaging Processes. Our customers use photolithographic, etching, metallization and wafer thinning to enable next generation advanced packaging solutions for semiconductor devices. The new packaging leads to increased functionality in smaller, less expensive form factors. Advanced packages can be broken down into high density flip chip or bump packages that increase pin density allowing for more complex I/O on advanced CPU parts. Similar or different devices can be stacked at the wafer level using a Through Silicon Via ("TSV") process. The

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TSV process enables high density small form factor parts, being primarily driven by mobile consumer products (e.g. cellular telephones with integrated CMOS camera sensors). Increasingly advanced packaging technologies are being adopted by our end customers.
Adoption of New Types of Thin Film Materials. The need for ever increasing device circuit speed coupled with lower power consumption has pushed semiconductor device manufacturers to begin the replacement of the traditional aluminum etch back interconnect flows as well as conventional gate dielectric materials, all which drive a broader adoption of thin film and OCD metrology systems. To achieve greater semiconductor device speed, manufacturers have adopted copper in Logic/IDM and it is now proliferating in next generation DRAM and Flash nodes. Additionally, to achieve improved transistor performance in logic devices and higher cell densities in memory devices, new materials including high dielectric constant (or high-k) gate materials are increasingly being substituted for traditional silicon-oxide gate dielectric materials. High-k materials comprise complex thin films including layers of hafnium oxide and a bi-layer of thin film metals. Our advanced metrology and inspection solutions are required for control of process steps, which are critical to enable the device performance improvements that these new materials allow.

Development of 3D Transistor Architectures. Our end customers continue to improve device density and performance by scaling front end of line transistor architectures. Many of these designs, including fin-fet transistors and 3D-NAND have buried features and high aspect ratio stacked features that enable improved performance and density. The advanced designs require additional process control to manage the complex shapes and materials properties, driving additional applications for both OCD and our UniFire systems.

Need for Improved Process Control to Drive Process Efficiencies. Competitive forces influencing semiconductor device manufacturers, such as price-cutting and shorter product life cycles, place pressure on manufacturers to rapidly achieve production efficiency. Device manufacturers are using our integrated and automated systems throughout the fabrication to ensure that manufacturing processes scale rapidly, are accurate and can be repeated on a consistent basis.

Reduced Number of Customers. Our market is characterized by an ongoing oligopsonistic trend which drives customer concentration. The largest customer accounted for 17.6% of our total revenue in the fiscal year 2001, and the largest customer accounted for 30.0% and 27.8% of our total revenue in the fiscal year 2013 and 2012, respectively.

Critical Accounting Policies
The preparation of our financial statements conforms to accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, which requires management to make estimates and judgments in applying our accounting policies that have an important impact on our reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses and related disclosures at the date of our financial statements. On an on-going basis, management evaluates its estimates including those related to bad debts, inventory valuations, warranty obligations, impairment and income taxes. Management bases its estimates and judgments on historical experience and on various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from management's estimates. We believe that the application of the following accounting policies requires significant judgments and estimates on the part of management. For a summary of all of our accounting policies, including those discussed below, see Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements.
Revenue Recognition - We recognize revenue when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, delivery has occurred or services have been rendered, the seller's price is fixed or determinable, and collectability is reasonably assured. We derive revenue from the sale of process control metrology and inspection systems ("product revenue") as well as spare part sales, billable services, service contracts, and upgrades (together "service revenue"). Upgrades are a group of parts and/or software that change the existing configuration of a product and are included in service revenue. They are distinguished from product revenue, which consists of complete, automated process control metrology systems (the "system(s)"). Nanometrics' systems consist of hardware and software components that function together to deliver the essential functionality of the system. Arrangements for sales of systems often include defined customer-specified acceptance criteria.
For product sales to existing customers, revenue recognition occurs when title and risk of loss transfer to the customer, which usually occurs upon shipment from our manufacturing location, if it can be reliably demonstrated that the product has successfully met the defined customer specified acceptance criteria and all other recognition criteria have been met. For initial sales where we have not previously met the defined customer specified acceptance criteria, product revenues are recognized upon the earlier of receipt of written customer acceptance or expiration of the contractual acceptance period. In Japan, where contractual terms with the customer specify risk of loss and title transfers upon customer acceptance, revenue is recognized upon receipt of written customer acceptance, provided that all other recognition criteria have been met. We warrant our products against defects in manufacturing. Upon recognition of product revenue, a liability is recorded for anticipated warranty costs. On occasion, customers request a warranty period longer than our standard warranty. In those instances where extended warranty services are separately quoted to the customer, the associated revenue is deferred and

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recognized as service revenue ratably over the term of the contract. The portion of service contracts and extended warranty services agreements that are uncompleted at the end of any reporting period are included in deferred revenue.

As part of customer services, we also sell software that is considered to be an upgrade to a customer's existing systems. These standalone software upgrades are not essential to the tangible product's functionality and are accounted for under software revenue recognition rules which require vendor specific objective evidence ("VSOE") of fair value to allocate revenue in a multiple element arrangement. Revenue from upgrades is recognized when the upgrades are delivered to the customer, provided that all other recognition criteria have been met.

Revenue related to spare parts is recognized upon shipment. Revenue related to billable services is recognized as the services are performed. Service contracts may be purchased by the customer during or after the warranty period and revenue is recognized ratably over the service contract period.

Frequently, we deliver products and various services in a single transaction. Our deliverables consist of tools, installation, upgrades, billable services, spare parts, and service contracts. Our typical multi-element arrangements include a sale of one or multiple tools that include installation and standard warranty. Other arrangements may consist of a sale of tools bundled with service elements or delivery of different types of services. Tools, upgrades, and spare parts are generally delivered to customers within a period of up to six months from order date. Installation is usually performed soon after delivery of the tool. The portion of revenue associated with installation is deferred based on estimated fair value and that revenue is recognized upon completion of the installation. Billable services are billed on a time and materials basis and performed as requested by customers. Under service contract arrangements, services are provided as needed over the fixed arrangement term and such terms can be up to 12 months. We do not generally grant customers a general right of return or refund and may impose a penalty on orders canceled prior to the scheduled shipment date.

We regularly evaluate our revenue arrangements to identify deliverables and to determine whether these deliverables are separable into multiple units of accounting. We allocate the arrangement consideration among the deliverables based on relative best estimated selling price ("BESP"). We have established vendor specific objective evidence ("VSOE") for some of our products and services when a substantial majority of selling prices falls within a narrow range when sold separately. For deliverables with no established VSOE, we use BESP to determine standalone selling price for such deliverable. We do not use third party evidence ("TPE") to determine standalone selling price since this information is not widely available in the market as our products contain a significant element of proprietary technology and the solutions offered differ substantially from our competitors. We have established a process for developing BESP, which incorporates historical selling prices, the effect of market conditions, gross margin objectives, pricing practices, as well as entity-specific factors. We monitor and evaluate BESP on a regular basis to ensure that changes in circumstances are accounted for in a timely manner.

When certain elements in multiple-element arrangements are not delivered or accepted at the end of a reporting period, the relative selling prices of undelivered elements are deferred until these elements are delivered and/or accepted. If deliverables cannot be accounted for as separate units of accounting, the entire arrangement is accounted for as a single unit of accounting and revenue is deferred until all elements are delivered and all revenue recognition requirements are met.
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts - We maintain allowances for estimated losses resulting from the inability of our customers to make their required payments. Credit limits are established through a process of reviewing the financial history and stability of our customers. Where appropriate and available, we obtain credit rating reports and financial statements of customers when determining or modifying their credit limits. We regularly evaluate the collectability of our trade receivable balances based on a combination of factors such as the length of time the receivables are past due, customary payment practices in the respective geographies and our historical collection experience with customers. We believe that our allowance for doubtful accounts adequately reflects our risk associated with our receivables. If the financial condition of a customer were to deteriorate, resulting in their inability to make payments, we would assess the necessity of recording additional allowances. This would result in additional general and administrative expenses being recorded for the period in which such determination was made.

Inventories - Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market. We are exposed to a number of economic and industry-specific factors that could result in portions of our inventory becoming either obsolete or in excess of anticipated usage, or saleable only for amounts that are less than their carrying amounts. These factors include, but are not limited to, technological changes in our market, our ability to meet changing customer requirements, competitive pressures in products and prices, and the availability of key components from our suppliers. We have established inventory reserves when conditions exist that suggest that our inventory may be in excess of anticipated demand or is obsolete based upon our assumptions about future demand for our products and market conditions. Once a reserve has been established, it is maintained until the part to which it relates is sold or is otherwise disposed of. Therefore, a sale of reserved inventory has a higher gross profit margin. We

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regularly evaluate our ability to realize the value of our inventory based on a combination of factors including the following: historical usage rates, forecasted sales of usage, product end-of-life dates, estimated current and future market values and new product introductions. Inventory includes evaluation tools placed at customer sites. For demonstration inventory, we also consider the age of the inventory and potential cost to refurbish the inventory prior to sale. Demonstration inventory is amortized over its useful life and the amortization expense is included in total inventory write down on our statements of cash flows. When recorded, our reserves are intended to reduce the carrying value of our inventory to its net realizable value. If actual demand for our products deteriorates, or market conditions are less favorable than those that we project, additional reserves may be required, which would adversely affect gross margin and net income.
Product Warranties - We sell the majority of our products with a standard twelve month repair or replacement warranty from the date of acceptance or shipment date. We provide an accrual for estimated future warranty costs based upon the historical relationship of warranty costs to the cost of products sold. The estimated future warranty obligations related to product sales are reported in the period in which the related revenue is recognized. The estimated future warranty obligations are affected by the warranty periods, sales volumes, product failure rates, material usage and labor and replacement costs incurred in correcting a product failure. If actual product failure rates, material usage, labor or replacement costs differ from our estimates, revisions to the estimated warranty obligations would be required. For new product introductions where limited or no historical information exists, we may use warranty information from other previous product introductions to guide us in estimating our warranty accrual. The warranty accrual represents the best estimate of the amount necessary to settle future and existing claims on products sold as of the balance sheet date. We periodically assess the adequacy of our recorded warranty reserve and adjust the amounts in accordance with changes in these factors.

Business Combinations - We allocate the purchase price of acquired companies to the tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed based upon their estimated fair values at the acquisition date. The purchase price allocation process requires management to make significant estimates and assumptions, especially at the acquisition date with respect to intangible assets and inventory acquired. While we use our best estimates and assumptions as a part of the purchase price allocation process to accurately value assets acquired and liabilities assumed at the acquisition date, our estimates are inherently uncertain and subject to refinement. As a result, during the measurement period, which may be up to one year from the acquisition date, we record adjustments to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed, with the corresponding offset to goodwill. Upon the conclusion of the measurement period or final determination of the values of assets acquired or liabilities assumed, whichever comes first, any subsequent adjustments are recorded to our consolidated statements of operations.

We estimate the fair value of inventory acquired by utilizing the net realizable value method which is based on the estimated sales price of the product less appropriate costs to complete and selling costs. Examples of critical estimates in valuing certain of the intangible assets we have acquired or may acquire in the future include but are not limited to:

          future expected cash flows from sales of products, services and
           acquired developed technologies and patents;

          expected costs to develop the in-process research and development into
           commercially viable products and estimated cash flows from the
           projects when completed;

          the value of the acquired company's customer relationships, as well as
           assumptions about the estimated useful lives of the relationships; and

discount rates.

Unanticipated events and circumstances may occur which may affect the accuracy or validity of assumptions, estimates or actual results associated with business combinations.
Goodwill and Intangible Assets - Intangible assets with finite lives are amortized over their useful lives and are subject to an impairment assessment, as well as an evaluation of the appropriateness of their estimated useful lives, whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount(s) may not be recoverable. Goodwill and indefinite lived assets are not amortized but tested annually for impairment. The goodwill impairment assessment involves three tests, Step 0, Step 1 and Step 2. The Step 0 test involves performing an initial qualitative assessment to determine whether it is more likely than not that the asset is impaired and thus whether it is necessary to proceed to Step 1 and calculate the fair value of the reporting unit. We may proceed directly to the Step 1 test without performing the Step 0 test. The Step 1 test involves measuring the recoverability of goodwill at the reporting unit level by comparing the reporting unit's carrying amount, including goodwill, to the fair value of the reporting unit.
We perform a Step 0 assessment of the goodwill during the fourth quarter of each fiscal year, or whenever events or circumstances occur which indicate that an impairment may have occurred. As part of this assessment, we consider the trading value of our stock, the industry trends, and our sales forecast and products plans to determine if it is more likely than not that the fair value is higher than the carrying values of our reporting unit. If, after assessing the qualitative factors, we determine that it is not likely that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, then performing the two-step impairment

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test is unnecessary. However, if we conclude otherwise, then we are required to perform the Step 1 of the two-step goodwill impairment test. The Step 1 test requires a comparison of the fair value of our reporting unit to its net book value. If the fair value of the reporting unit is greater than its net book value, then no impairment is deemed to have occurred. If the fair value is less, then the Step 2 must be performed to determine the amount, if any, of actual impairment.
The process of evaluating the potential impairment of goodwill is highly subjective and requires significant judgment. In estimating the fair value of goodwill at the reporting unit level, we make estimates and judgments about future revenues and cash flows for the reporting unit. To determine the fair value, our review process includes the income method and is based on a discounted future cash flow approach that uses estimates including the following for the reporting unit: estimated revenue, market segment growth rates and market share assumptions; estimated costs; and appropriate discount rates based on the particular reporting unit's weighted average cost of capital. Our estimates of market segment growth, our market segment share and costs are based on historical data, various internal estimates and certain external sources, and are based on assumptions that are consistent with the plans and estimates we are using to manage the underlying businesses. Our business consists of both established and emerging technologies and our forecasts for emerging technologies are based upon internal estimates and external sources rather than historical information. We also consider our market capitalization on the dates of our impairment tests in determining the fair value of the respective businesses. As part of this assessment, we consider the trading value of our stock and our implied value, as compared to our net assets, as well as the valuation of our acquired businesses. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value as determined by these assessments, goodwill is considered impaired, and the Step 2 test is performed to measure the amount of impairment loss. As part of the Step 2 test to determine the amount of goodwill impairment, if any, we allocate the fair value of the reporting unit to all of its assets and liabilities as if the reporting unit had been acquired in a business combination and the fair value of the reporting unit was the price paid to acquire the reporting unit. The excess of the fair value of the reporting unit over the amount assigned to its assets and liabilities is the implied fair value of goodwill. When impairment is deemed to have occurred, we will recognize an impairment charge to reduce the carrying amount of our goodwill to its implied fair value.

Income Tax Assets and Liabilities - We account for income taxes such that deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized using enacted tax rates for the effect of temporary differences between the book and tax accounting for assets and liabilities. Also, deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance to the extent we cannot conclude that it is more likely than not that a portion of the deferred tax asset will be realized in the future. We evaluate the deferred tax assets on a continuous basis throughout the year to determine whether or not a valuation allowance is appropriate. Factors used in this determination include future expected income and the underlying asset or liability which generated the temporary tax difference. Our income tax provision is primarily impacted by federal statutory rates, state and foreign income taxes and changes in our valuation allowance.
Stock-Based Compensation -We estimate the value of employee stock options on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes model. The determination of fair value of share-based payment awards on the date of grant using an option-pricing model is affected by our stock price as well as assumptions regarding a number of highly complex and subjective variables. These variables include, but are not limited to, the expected stock price volatility over the term of the awards, and actual and projected employee stock option exercise behaviors. The expected term of options granted is calculated based on the simplified method. The expected volatility is based on the historical volatility of our stock price. Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2 of our consolidated financial statements for a description of recent accounting pronouncements, including the respective dates of adoption and effects on our results of operations and financial condition.

Results of Operations
The following table presents our consolidated statements of operations data as a percentage of total net revenues for fiscal years ended December 28, 2013, December 29, 2012 and December 31, 2011.

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                                             Fiscal Year
                                       2013      2012      2011
Net revenues:
Products                              74.4  %    78.6 %    84.7 %
Service                               25.6       21.4      15.3
Total net revenues                   100.0      100.0     100.0
Costs of net revenues:
Cost of products                      41.2       41.5      38.5
Cost of service                       13.5       11.2       8.0
Amortization of intangible assets      1.8        1.4       0.4
Total costs of net revenues           56.5       54.1      46.9
Products gross margin                 44.6       47.2      54.5
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