Fiberoptics Industry Report

Corning buys Oak Industries, Siemens' cable business, and Optovac; In UK move, JDS Uniphase acquires Sifam; and more.

Corning buys Oak Industries, Siemens' cable business, and Optovac

For $1.8 billion in stock, Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) has agreed to buy Oak Industries (Waltham, MA). Corning will exchange 0.83 share of its common stock for each share of Oak common stock. The crown jewel for Corning is Oak Industries subsidiary Lasertron (Bedford, MA), a maker of active fiberoptic components such as 980-nm pump lasers for erbium-doped fiber amplifiers. Corning also acquired the worldwide optical cable and hardware businesses of Siemens AG (Munich, Germany), along with the remaining 50% of Siecor jointly owned with Siemens, for $1.4 billion including assumed debt. In addition, in a move intended to expand its role as a supplier of optical materials for lithography, Corning agreed to acquire Optovac (North Brookfield, MA) from its parent company, E Marck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany).

In UK move, JDS Uniphase acquires Sifam

JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA) continued its run of acquisitions by buying Sifam Ltd. (Torquay, Devon, England) for approximately $96 million in cash. The company, founded in 1985 with roots going back to France in the 1920s, employs 180 people and makes fused components for fiberoptic telecommunications networks, including couplers, wavelength-division multiplexers, and gain-flattening filters. Sifam will divest itself of business units that are not involved in fiberoptics before the deal is closed. JDS Uniphase has been a customer of Sifam and expects its use of the company's fused coupler and other products to grow as JDS Uniphase expands its fiber-amplifier business.

Lattice Electro Optics opens its doors

A new optics and coating company aims to find a niche in the booming market for optical telecommunications. Scott Kim has founded Lattice Electro Optics (Fullerton, CA) with private funding and a staff of five. The company specializes in high-power laser optics and coatings and plans to sell to users of wavelength-division-multiplexing products. The strength of the market prompted Kim to leave his position as executive vice president at Lambda Research Optics (Cerritos, CA) and strike out on his own.

Furukawa sets up new US venture

Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) has established Fitel Technologies (Clinton, NJ) to tackle the fiberoptics and optoelectronics markets in North America. Furukawa has been partners for years with JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA), formerly JDS Fitel, and both companies said that partnership will continue. Furukawa has named John Pilitsis, formerly of Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ), as president of the new operation.

Infineon and Altitun strike tunable-laser distribution deal

Altitun Inc. AB (Stockholm, Sweden) and Infineon Technologies Corp. (San Jose, CA) have signed a development and marketing agreement to provide tunable lasers for telecommunications applications. The companies plan to create a family of tunable devices for dense wavelength-division multiplexing. Under the agreement, Infineon will distribute Altitun's tunable lasers, based on a sampled grating distributed Bragg reflector.

Also in the news . . .

Chorum Technologies (Richardson, TX), a maker of all-optical networks, completed a $42 million round of financing that will be used to significantly expand production capacity. . . . Completing a new round of investment, Nanovation Technologies (Miami, FL) closed its offering for $30 million of preferred stock, bringing the year's total investment raised to $56 million, which will be used to construct and staff a second product development facility. . . . Discovery Semiconductor (West Windsor, NJ) will use a $360,000 loan from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for working capital and purchase of equipment. . . . Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), a subsidiary of Alcatel Alsthom SA (Paris, France), has formed an alliance with Ortronics (New London, CT) to sell its fiberoptic products around the world.

W. Conard Holton

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