News Briefs

Laser acquisition: ROFIN-SINAR Laser GmbH, an affiliate company of ROFIN-SINAR Technologies (Plymouth, MI and Hamburg, Germany), a developer and manufacturer of laser-based solutions, acquired 80% of the common stock of III-V semiconductor laser maker m2k-laser GmbH (Freiburg, Germany), in a cash transaction. The remaining 20% of the common stock of m2k-laser GmbH is still held by the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (Munich, Germany) and two former founders.

Avanex divests fabs, gets new GM: Avanex (Fremont, CA), developer of solutions for next-generation optical networks, entered into a definitive agreement to sell a 90% interest in its French subsidiary, Avanex France (Paris, France), including its indium phosphide and gallium arsenide semiconductor fabs, to Global Research Company and to the current management of Avanex France. Avanex also realized proceeds of $20 million in a private placement of common stock. The divested business includes the laser, terrestrial and submarine pump, and fiber Bragg grating product lines. Avanex will maintain 20 employees in France focused on transmission products.

In related news, Avanex appointed Pat Edsell as senior VP and general manager. Edsell is responsible for the company’s product development center in Shanghai and Avanex’s transmission, components and modules, and advanced modules and subsystems business units. Edsell brings over 23 years of senior executive experience in the optical and microelectronic industries and has a strong track record in improving companies’ bottom lines. Prior to joining Avanex, Edsell served as the CEO of NP Photonics and as the CEO of Spectra-Physics.

New CEO: NP Photonics (Tucson, AZ), a developer of advanced micro fiber products for sensing and scientific applications, appointed Philippe Brak as president and CEO. Philippe brings over 20 years of senior executive experience in the optical and microelectronics manufacturing industries to NP Photonics. In his role as VP of sales and marketing, Philippe has played an instrumental role in transforming NP from a technology-driven organization to a customer- and market-oriented organization. Previously, Philippe was VP of sales and marketing at Gigabit Optics, an integrated photonics company, where he brought customer focus to the forefront, resulting in over 40 customers and more than 20 design wins.

More FTTH funding: Enablence Technologies (Ottawa, ON, Canada), a developer of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) transceivers for optical modems, completed a private placement of 25,000,000 common shares at a price of $0.60 per share for gross proceeds of $15 million. The proceeds will be used to expand product lines, pursue new opportunities in the FTTH market and for general working capital. “The proceeds of the financing will bring the total to $33M which will allow Enablence to capitalize on new complementary product solutions while continuing with our current plans for the introduction and mass production of planar lightwave circuit based diplexers and triplexers,” said CEO Arvind Chhatbar.

Transceiver funding: OE Solutions (Gwangju, Korea), a supplier of optoelectronic transceiver solutions for wireless and wireline optical communications, announced the closing of a $4.3 million Series C round of funding, led by two Korean VCs: Korean Development Bank Capital and Kibo Technology Advancing Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to date to $16 million. OE Solutions will utilize the funds to expand its global marketing and sales efforts, and to accelerate future product development to meet growing customer demand worldwide. YK Park, president and CEO of OE Solutions said, “The new funding will also carry the company into 2007 towards profitability with double revenue growth over 2006.”

Series A for laser firm: Maxion technologies, manufacturer of mid-infrared semiconductor lasers based on interband cascade and quantum cascade (QC) lasers, received seed funding from ECentury Capital Partners and the Maryland Venture Funds and announced closure on a $2.5 million series A round of financing with Chart Venture Partners. John Bruno, a founder of Maxion and its president said, “Maxion’s QC lasers provide customers-for the first time-with efficient, reliable, cost-effective semiconductor lasers that emit in the mid-infrared spectral region where molecules of significant commercial interest have their strongest optical absorption fingerprints. Most commercially available semiconductor lasers operate in the near-infrared spectral region, and consequently, cannot support the requirements for sensitive chemical sensing products.”

IR detector contract: Sofradir (Veurey-Voroize, France), provider of infrared detectors for military, space, and commercial applications, has signed a $4.2 million contract with NEC Toshiba Space, a supplier of space systems, to supply a custom-made bi-spectral long wave infrared detector (LWIR). Sofradir’s detector (two bands in long-wave range) will be used on the Second Generation Global Imager (SGLI), an observation instrument for the Global Change Observation Mission (GCOM). GCOM is a satellite observation project being carried out by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The purpose of the SGLI is to conduct detailed global monitoring of the ground surface and middle and lower atmospheres, to allow scientists to observe and better predict global environmental changes due to natural fluctuations and those caused by mankind.

Imaging award: The International Imaging Industry Association (I3A; White Plains, NY), a global association for the imaging industry, conferred its annual Leadership Award upon Antonio M. Perez, chairman and CEO of the Eastman Kodak Company. Perez received the honor at I3A’s Spotlight Reception held Friday evening, March 9, in conjunction with the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) 2007 conference that took place in Las Vegas, NV. Awarded annually since 1980, I3A’s Leadership Award recognizes those individuals in the international imaging community who have exhibited the exemplary qualities and innovative vision of a leader. Lisa Walker, I3A president, said of Perez, “His vision is guiding Kodak through its most challenging transformation ever: from film giant to an industry leader in the digital age.”

Laser cutting contract: Laser Photonics (Lake Mary, FL) was awarded an almost half-million dollar contract for delivering a new generation high-power fiber laser cutting system to a major sign-making company. SBM1200FL is a multipurpose fiber laser cutting and engraving system built from technology involving a 1 kW fiber laser from IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA). “This fiber laser cutting system has unlimited applications not only in the sign-making industry, but also in shipbuilding, automotive, aerospace, and general industrial applications,” said Demitri Nikitin, the CEO of Laser Photonics. “The system is designed to cut or engrave on a variety of materials up to 4 x 4 ft or 4 x 8 ft with optional automatic feeding and take-up function for material rolls.”

SSL test reports available: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has completed an initial set of product testing reports from Round 1 of the DOE Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Commercial Product Testing Program. The complete results from Round 1 will be available in the next few weeks. The Department allows its test results to be distributed in the public interest for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Detailed test reports covering downlights, under-cabinet, outdoor area, surface mount, and task/desk lighting are now available upon request. For more information, or to request a report, see www.netl.doe.gov/ssl/comm_testing.htm. The testing program provides unbiased, reliable product performance information to the public in the early years of SSL market development.

Infinera leads 10G: In its press release, Infinera (Sunnyvale, CA) says it extended its lead in the worldwide market for shipments of 10 Gigabits/second (Gbps) long-haul dense-wavelength-division-multiplexing (DWDM) wavelengths in calendar 2006, ranking first with a 34.7% global market share, according to data from independent analyst firm the Dell’Oro Group (Redwood City, CA). Infinera began shipping the Infinera DTN system in November 2004. Infinera also ranked first in this market segment in 2005 with a 20% global market share. As a private company, Infinera’s shipments are not broken out as a separate line item in Dell’Oro Group’s published tables, but are included in the published totals.

New spectroscopy division: Following the success of its encoded photometric infrared spectroscopy (EP-IR) analyzers, Aspectrics (Pleasanton, CA) has established a new Professional Services Division to demonstrate its commitment to its growing clientele. The new Division will work closely with both existing and potential customers in order to create turnkey custom solutions to address their specific application requirements. Aspectrics has chosen John Beauchaine, former VP of Sales, to head up the new Division. In his former position as VP of Sales, John set up Aspectrics’ sales and distributor network and orchestrated strategic agreements with a large number of OEMs and key instrument manufacturers.

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