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ATS and EXFO establish strategic alliance

December 12, 2001 | General
TSE Symbol: ATA

CAMBRIDGE and QUEBEC CITY, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (TSE: ATA) and EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering Inc. (NASDAQ: EXFO, TSE: EXF) announced today the signing of a strategic alliance agreement.

The agreement facilitates integration of EXFO's automated manufacturing subsystems and test systems into ATS' turnkey custom and standard automation solutions to better meet the specific needs of optical component and systems manufacturers.

EXFO has assembled key building blocks in the automated optical component manufacturing process such as optical test stations, nanorobot photonics alignment systems, and ultraviolet and infrared light-based curing technologies. ATS has developed expertise in automation, integration, optical path engineering, precision machine building, control software, as well as test and measurement systems.

The combined solutions will allow optical component and systems manufacturers to significantly increase yields, reduce costs, improve productivity and lessen human intervention on the production floor.

"This strategic alliance is a natural fit for both companies," said Klaus Woerner, President and CEO of ATS. "EXFO's core competencies in optical testing, precision alignment and light-based curing combined with our in-depth knowledge of automation will produce turnkey automated solutions based on ATS' standard platforms adapted to the unique requirements of our manufacturing clients."

"This agreement will greatly benefit our optical component manufacturing customers seeking to automate their production processes by aligning two leaders respectively in photonics and automation," said Germain Lamonde, Chairman, President and CEO of EXFO. "By combining our solutions, we enable customers to make a smooth transition to automated component manufacturing."

Under terms of the strategic alliance, ATS and EXFO will jointly generate business leads, establish training programs for end-users, share marketing strategies and forecasts, as well as validate product development initiatives. The agreement is non-exclusive, but it should lead to close co-operation on a range of opportunities, particularly as applied to fiber optics.

ABOUT ATS
ATS is the industry's leading designer and producer of turnkey standard and custom automated manufacturing and test systems, which are used primarily by multinational corporations operating in a variety of industries including: computer/electronics & photonics, automotive, and consumer products. ATS also makes precision components and sub-assemblies using its own custom-built manufacturing systems, process knowledge and automation technology. ATS employs approximately 3,300 people at 26 facilities in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific. For further information about ATS please refer to www.atsautomation.com.

ABOUT EXFO
EXFO, which derives its name from "EXpertise in Fiber Optics", is a leading designer and manufacturer of fiber-optic test, measurement and automation solutions for the global telecommunications industry. EXFO markets its products to more than 2000 customers in 70 countries around the world. EXFO and its subsidiaries develop products for two main markets. The Portable and Monitoring Division provides handheld and modular instruments for the physical-, optical- and protocol-layer testing needs of telecommunication carriers and network service providers. The Industrial and Scientific Division offers an extensive line of high-performance instruments, test systems and automated manufacturing equipment for optical component and system vendors as well as for research and development labs.

This news release may contain statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements other than historical information or statements of current condition. These statements may appear in a number of places in this news release and include statements concerning our intent, belief, or current expectations regarding future events. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors which are beyond the control of ATS and EXFO, including retention of qualified personnel, revenue synergies, demand for testing and measurement instruments and precision positioning instruments as well as general economic conditions. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable based on information currently available to us, we cannot assure you that the expectations will prove to have been correct. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. In any event, these statements speak only as of the date of this news release. We undertake no obligation to revise or update any of them to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this news release, or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events. Readers are referred to the respective Annual Reports and other filings by ATS and EXFO with Canadian securities commissions, and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by EXFO, for a discussion of the other factors that may affect future performances and other important risk factors concerning ATS and EXFO and their separate operations.

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For further information:
Carl Galloway, Corporate Treasurer
(519) 653-6500