Fiber Optics Industry Report

Rifocs acquired by Greenlee Textron; Corning buys polymer group from Honeywell; Ultralong-haul transport is motive for Nortel acquiring Qtera; and more.

Rifocs acquired by Greenlee Textron

In a move to accelerate its growth in the data-signal-voice market, Greenlee Textron (Providence, WI) has acquired Rifocs Corp. (Camarillo, CA), a privately owned manufacturer of fiberoptic test-and-measurement instruments and components. Rifocs has projected 1999 revenues of approximately $18 million. Its products include optical power meters, light sources, variable attenuators, and other products aimed at commercial, industrial, and aerospace defense applications. Lewis Campbell, chairman and CEO of Greenlee Textron parent company, Textron, said that fiberoptics will become increasingly important to the company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Corning buys polymer group from Honeywell

The Optical Polymer Group of Honeywell (Minneapolis, MN) has been purchased by Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) for an undisclosed sum. The group, which had been part of Allied Signal before that company merged with Honeywell in December, develops low-loss materials for polymer-based optical components such as optical switches, muxes/demuxes, tunable filters, splitters, and channel equalizers. The staff and equipment will become part of Corning.

Cisco plans to purchase the Pirelli DWDM unit

Rounding out its optical-networking suite, Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) will acquire the optical-systems business of Pirelli SpA (Milan, Italy) for $2.15 billion. Cisco is also taking a 10% stake in Pirelli's optical components and submarine optical transmission businesses with a $100 million investment. Pirelli's line of dense wavelength-division-multiplexing (DWDM) products helps complete Cisco's portfolio of products and positions it to better compete with rivals such as Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) and Nortel Networks (Brampton, Ontario, Canada).

Ultralong-haul transport is motive for Nortel acquiring Qtera

Startup Qtera Corp. (Boca Raton, FL) will become part of Nortel Networks (Brampton, Ontario, Canada) for $3.2 billion. Qtera, which has not yet announced products, has developed an optical transport platform that sends 10-Gbit/s signals 4000 miles without regeneration, resulting in significant savings in long-haul transmission equipment costs. Meanwhile, Siemens Information and Communication Networks (Boca Raton, FL) has sued Qtera, which was founded by former Siemens employees, alleging misuse of Siemens intellectual property.

Optical MEMS maker Cronos draws venture funding

Cronos Integrated Microsystems (Research Triangle Park, NC) has raised $8 million in its first round of venture-capital financing, led by SpaceVest II LP, Intel Corp., and Knickerbocker LLC. Cronos is a wholly owned subsidiary of MCNC, a technology incubator. The company will use the funding to help further its growth in the telecommunications and microinstrumentation markets for micro-optic electromechanical systems.

Also in the news . . .

JDS Uniphase Corp. (San Jose, CA) acquired optical-amplifier maker Oprel Technologies (Nepean, Ontario, Canada) for an undisclosed sum; it will also spend $125 million over the next few years to increase worldwide manufacturing and expand operations. . . . Fujitsu Network Communications (Richardson, TX) says it will double its production of 10-Gbit/s WDM systems over the next year and invest $500 million over the next two years to increase production. . . . Stocker & Yale (Salem, NH) has purchased fiberoptic-glass production assets from Schott-Fostec LLC (Marlborough, MA) for an undisclosed sum, increasing its production capacity by 400% and helping match a 95% growth rate in its fiberoptic business. . . . Tellium (Oceanport, NJ) has raised $50 million of equity financing from venture-capital companies and others, including Ortel Corp. (Alhambra, CA) and Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA).

W. Conard Holton

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