Newport to acquire Picarro’s laser business

IRVINE, CA-Newport plans to strengthen its solid-state product offerings for the biomedical instrumentation market through the acquisition of the Picarro Laser Products Business (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada).

IRVINE, CA-Newport plans to strengthen its solid-state product offerings for the biomedical instrumentation market through the acquisition of the Picarro Laser Products Business (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada). The Laser Products group designs and manufactures solid-state lasers-notably the Cyan 488-nm laser--targeted primarily at the life and health sciences and process and control markets. Following close of the transaction, which is expected in early November, the group will become part of Newport’s Spectra-Physics Lasers Division and will remain in Ottawa.

“We are very excited about this acquisition, which will fill a gap in our laser product line for life and health sciences applications and extend our Excelsior family of products by adding a compact, 488-nm solid-state laser,” said Bob Deuster, Newport chairman and CEO. “Since the acquisition of Spectra-Phyics, we have been investing in solid-state product development for the colors used in biomedical instrumentation. But the one thing we left open was the 488 because it is the most difficult color to produce, and the Picarro Cyan has a very robust design. Our Excelsior product line, out for about a year, is all solid state and addresses all the other colors in biomed instrumentation, so this acquisition gives us the last puzzle piece.”

According to Phill Amaya, VP of marketing and sales at Picarro, the deal makes sense because the company’s trace-gas analysis business-which takes advantage of its patented cavity-ringdown spectroscopy technology--has begun to take off, and while there is some overlap, the two parts of the company were really serving very different markets. The deal also allows Picarro to focus more of its resources on developing the applications and accelerating the revenue growth for trace-gas analysis.

“Picarro remains a standalone company pursuing this trace gas analysis opportunity based on cavity ringdown spectroscopy,” Amaya said. “The Cyan laser has been really successful, but we have been strategizing internally about how to continue the growth of the product line. We don’t want to be a one-hit wonder. So we have been considering additional investment into expanding the apps and market for the Cyan. Newport, however, already has a large portfolio of complementary products and capabilities in this area, so selling the business to them made a lot of sense.”

At the same time, he added, the trace-gas analyzer business has really been building some momentum in several application markets. For Picarro, the most immediate and sizable markets are in combustion-engine emissions (automotive, catalyst, diesel engine manufacturers), semiconductor controls, atmospheric monitoring, petrochemical-“pretty diverse markets just for that technology,” Amaya noted.

-Kathy Kincade

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