Fiberoptics Industry Report

Bookham to reincorporate in the United States; Pandatel acquires Lightmaze Solutions; FiberGrade acquired by PXIT; MORE...

Bookham to reincorporate in the United States

Bookham Technology (Abingdon, England) plans to change its corporate domicile to the United States. The proposed change is to be effected by a U.K. court-approved scheme of arrangement under which every 10 existing Bookham ordinary shares will be exchanged for one share of common stock in a newly incorporated Delaware corporation, Bookham Inc. The new stock is expected to be listed on the NASDAQ.

According to the company, the move is being made to reflect the changes that have been made in Bookham's business activities, customer base, and ownership in the four years since its initial public offering. In that time, the company has expanded into new market areas by acquisition and moved into several nontelecom markets, including high-brightness lasers for industrial applications, optics, accessories for the biomedical market, and a catalog business. The company now has an integrated III-V chip plant in Caswell (England), an assembly and test facility in Paignton (England), a high-power laser-chip facility in Zurich (Switzerland), a thin-film-filter facility in Santa Rosa (CA), two facilities in San Jose (CA), an optical-amplifier modules and subsystems facility in Sunnyvale (CA), an R&D facility in Ottawa (Canada), and an assembly and test facility in Shenzhen (China).

Bookham believes the move to the United States will improve its strategic positioning by placing it closer to end-user demand for its products and facilitating management of its global operations. In addition, the company's peer group is principally located in the United States, and this move is expected to allow Bookham to compete with these companies on an equal footing for investment and acquisition opportunities.

Pandatel acquires Lightmaze Solutions

Pandatel (Hamburg, Germany), a copper line and optical-fiber-network access and transmission specialist, has acquired 100% of Lightmaze Solutions (Eisingen, Germany), a company that specializes in communication solutions for the introduction of intelligent optical networks. The firms have agreed not to discuss financial details of the deal. Lightmaze Solutions will be incorporated into the Pandatel Group as and optical-networking-systems business unit. Research and development will remain in Eisingen, while the sales forces will be internationally aligned and extended.

Lightmaze Solutions offers intelligent-optical-network solutions to network providers active in the storage, metro and cross-regional market segments. Since its founding in 2000, the company has been developing next-generation optical systems, including wavelength-division multiplexing, time-division multiplexing, crossconnect, and intelligent-network management.

FiberGrade acquired by PXIT

FiberGrade, a developer of optical transmission-monitoring technologies, has officially "graduated" from the Boston University (Boston, MA) Photonics Center's Business Acceleration Program and was acquired by PXIT (Lexington, MA), a manufacturer of high-performance optical and electrical test equipment. The acquisition was originally funded by 4th Level Ventures and Delta Partners. PXIT acquired FiberGrade to extend its product portfolio and bring on board FiberGrade's knowledge and expertise in the transmission-testing industry.

FiberGrade was founded in 2002 by Fadi Daou, president and chief technology officer, and incubated out of the Photonics Center at Boston University. FiberGrade designed and developed several electro-optical component test analyzers in one of the Photonic Center's 17 product-development laboratories. FiberGrade's Vector Sampling signal analyzers, now part of PXIT's product portfolio, are cost-effective signal-integrity testing solutions for broadband electro-optical signals.

Also in the news . . .

Sanmina-SCI (San Jose, CA), a global electronics-contract-manufacturing-services (EMS) company, is partnering with Kailight Photonics (Dallas, TX) to jointly design, industrialize, manufacture, and market Kailight's tunable all-optical signal-regeneration product line. . . . Ibsen Photonics (Copenhagen, Denmark) has been granted U.S. Patent 6,693,701, "Method and Apparatus for Diffractive Transfer of Grating Mask." This technology allows manufacturers to print submicron grating periods by further advancing the manufacturability provided by NFH technology, which involves replicating phase-mask structures via a mask aligner. . . . Mahi Networks (Petaluma, CA) acquired Photuris (Piscataway, NJ), a supplier of advanced optical-services equipment. In related news, Mahi closed $70 million in new funding. . . . Comlase (Stockholm, Sweden) completed a new round of venture funding, providing the company with an additional 12 million Swedish Krona in capital (US$1.6 million).

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