Laser Industry Report

Industry mourns loss of Dean Hodges;

Industry mourns loss of Dean Hodges

Dean Hodges, who worked for such companies as Spectra-Physics, Newport, Laser Power Optics, and Melles Griot in his 30-year career, died unexpectedly in mid-April. Hodges earned a doctorate degree from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) and began his career at Aerospace. He moved to Spectra-Physics in the early 1980s, then went to Newport in the mid1980s, where he eventually became senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Hodges left Newport in 1993 and later that year joined Laser Power Optics, where he served as president for several years. Laser Power was sold to Melles Griot in 2000, and Hodges stayed on there until 2002, when he went into consulting. He was a fellow of IEEE/LEOS, past president of LEOMA, and very active in SPIE. Donations can be made in Hodge's name to Meals-on-Wheels, 2254 San Diego Ave., #100, San Diego, CA 92110.

GSI Lumonics buys Spectron from medical-laser firm

In what appears to be an effort to shore up its bottom line, Lumenis (Yokneam, Israel) has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its industrial laser unit, Spectron Laser Systems (Rubgy, England), to GSI Lumonics (Billerica, MA) for $6.3 million in cash. The industrial business had net revenue of approximately $11 million in 2002. The acquisition adds both diode-pumped solid-state laser technology and products to GSI Lumonics' offerings, as well as expanded product lines in lamp-pumped and CO2-based technologies. Spectron's lasers are primarily used in material processing applications such as marking, cutting plastic and diamonds, silicon machining, and microwelding.

In related news, Lumenis appointed Avner Raz to the position of president and CEO. Raz joins Lumenis from Elisra Electronic Systems, where he has served as president and CEO since 1994. Arie Genger, acting CEO of Lumenis for the past four months, will remain vice chairman and a director of the company.

Coherent to take over Lambda Physik

Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) plans to buy the 40% of Lambda Physik (Göttingen, Germany) it doesn't already own in a deal valued at more than $52 million. Coherent will pay about $10/share for the remaining 5.25 million Lambda shares. The offer is contingent on Coherent getting 95% of Lambda's registered share capital with plans to delist the German company's stock.

"In order to ensure the long-term development and growth of Lambda, its integration into Coherent and subsequent delisting will allow Lambda to focus on its core competencies: the development of UV laser technology and new applications," said Dirk Basting, CEO of Lambda Physik, who plans to sell his 10.3% stake in the company and leave his position at Lambda.

Carl Zeiss Meditec sells business units

In an effort to maintain its focus on ophthalmology, Carl Zeiss Meditec (Jena, Germany) sold its dermatological and dental laser business units to the Italian firms EL.EN and Quanta Systems, effective May 1. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price for these business units.

"This step successfully concludes our efforts to concentrate on our core ophthalmic business," said Ulrich Krauss, president and CEO of Carl Zeiss Meditec. "At the same time, the integration of both the units in EL.EN and Quanta Systems opens up good perspectives for their success in the future."

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report. Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at [email protected]

Also in the news . . .

Boeing (St. Louis, MO) is teaming with Ball Aerospace & Technologies (Boulder, CO) to develop laser communications technologies that will improve the efficiency of satellite communications by a factor of 10 or more. . . . Eye-laser developer IntraLase (Irvine, CA) has appointed Robert Palmisano president and CEO. In the 1990s, Palmisano built Summit Autonomous into a world-leading ophthalmic laser company and facilitated its nearly $1 billion acquisition by Alcon Laboratories. . . . The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS), British Medical Laser Association (BMLA), and European Laser Association (ELA) will co-sponsor a joint international meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 21–23. This is the first time these organizations have combined forces for an international medical-laser meeting. . . . Xsil (Dublin, Ireland), a provider of laser micromachining systems, has opened an office in Hsinchu, Taiwan, adding to its presence in England, United States, and Japan.

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