Photronics reported record revenue for its 2018 fiscal year, with the company marking its 50th anniversary next year at its Brookfield headquarters.

Founded in 1969 in Danbury, Photronics manufactures photomasks, glassy plates that chip makers use to create electronic circuitry on chips and flat panel displays by beaming light through the devices. The company earned $12.5 million on $145 million in revenue in its fourth fiscal quarter ending Oct. 31, with sales up 20 percent and profits off 4 percent.

For the full year, Photronics revenue rose 19 percent to a record $535 million, with the company more than tripling profits to $42 million. Photronics generates roughly $3 on every $4 in revenue from chip makers outside the United States, with the global market in excess of $4 billion if counting both vendors like Photronics as well as photomasks produced in-house by chip makers.

On a Wednesday conference call, CEO Peter Kirlin said Photronics has registered the gains thanks primarily to a nearly 150 percent year-over-year sales increase in China and a strong South Korean market, overcoming an overall downward trending semiconductor market.

Photronics is on the cusp of starting up a pair of new China facilities in the cities of Xiamen and Hefei, with the company reporting in 2017 an expected investment there of $160 million over five years, and the expansion coming nearly a decade after it closed a small Shanghai factory at a cost of 75 jobs there.

Photronics employed nearly 1,500 people globally at last report. In addition to its Brookfield headquarters, Photronics has existing facilities in Texas, Idaho, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The company expects the new production lines in China to be profitable by the end of next year, adding needed capacity to produce photomasks for flat-panel displays, with Photronics plants currently flat out on that front.

“The new China capacity will be incremental to a business that has no more,” Kirlan said Wednesday. “We operated last quarter at the highest level of capacity utilization that I have seen in my 10 years at Photronics. ... We were working hard, generally — not at all our factories, but (flat panel display) was sold out (and) we had several (semiconductor) factories sold out.”

Photronics expects revenue in the current quarter to total between $120 million and $130 million, with business typically slowing as the calendar turns to the new year. In the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year, Photronics had sales of $123 million and a $5.9 million profit.; 203-842-2545; @casoulman