Fiberoptics Industry Report

Bookham to acquire Cierra Photonics; Opnext buys Pine Photonics Communications ; Canada opens $23 million photonics 'collaboratory'; MORE...

Bookham to acquire Cierra Photonics

Bookham Technology (Abingdon, England) has entered into an agreement to acquire substantially all of the business and assets of Cierra Photonics (Santa Rosa, CA). Under terms of the agreement, Cierra Photonics will receive 3,071,484 shares in Bookham Technology, making the deal worth about £2.25 million (US$4 million) at the current share price. In addition, subject to the satisfactory fulfillment of specific sales milestones over the next two years, 4.2 million ordinary shares in Bookham Technology could be issued to Cierra Photonics.

Cierra Photonics designs and manufactures thin-film filters and other components for the fiberoptic telecommunications industry, and employs around 39 people. The company's advanced energetic deposition technology is a specialized process for wafer-scale deposition of well-controlled films, resulting in thin-film components with lower costs, high yields, and good optical performance, according to the company.

For the quarter ended March 30, Bookham had revenues of £21.0 million (US$34 million), an increase of 47% over the fourth quarter 2002. But the increased revenues have not yet put the company into profit. Net loss for the first quarter 2003 was £25.0 million (US$41 million). However, the company is cash rich, with £87.7 million (US$143 million) in the bank at the end of the last quarter.

Opnext buys Pine Photonics Communications

In an effort to extend its range of optical transceivers and transponders, Opnext (Eatontown, NJ) has acquired Pine Photonics Communications (Fremont, CA). The deal gives Opnext access to sophisticated technologies in SONET/SDH and Ethernet optical transceivers, allowing the company to quickly expand its portfolio of XAUI-based transponders and small-form-factor, pluggable transceivers, including modules for SONET/SDH (OC-3/STM-1 to OC-48/STM-16), Gigabit Ethernet, and Fibre Channel applications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to Harry Bosco, president and CEO, Opnext is augmenting its proven track record in high-end optical components by leveraging Pine Photonics' expertise in low-cost design and manufacture. The deal allows Opnext to expand its pluggable portfolio of products to include low-cost, pluggable transceivers for datacom and telecom applications. Pine Photonics offers module-level products for metro and regional network system providers such as transceivers, transponders and modulator bias controllers.

Canada opens $23 million photonics 'collaboratory'

Canada has officially launched the $23 million National Microelectronics and Photonics Testing Collaboratory (Montreal), a virtual laboratory that will use the Internet to link Canadian researchers and graduate students to microchip testing equipment, giving companies a competitive edge in microsystems and photonics.

This Canada-wide initiative will enable university researchers at 22 institutions to use the Internet to access specialized equipment physically located in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg,

and Kingston to test and validate high-performance microchip designs, including mixed-signal systems, photonics systems, system-on-chip technology, and radio-frequency components. Four specialized test laboratories will host the test equipment: the Advanced Mixed-Signal Lab at McGill University; the Advanced Photonics Lab at Queen's University; the Advanced Digital Systems Lab at the University of Toronto; and the Advanced RF Lab at the University of Manitoba.

ThreeFive Photonics files for 'suspension of payments'

A leading Dutch optochip specialist, ThreeFive Photonics (Houten, The Netherlands), has filed a "suspension of payments" request with the Dutch court, which is equivalent to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. According to the company, the measure was taken to explore alternative financing strategies for the company that is suffering from the downturn in the telecommunications sector.

ThreeFive Photonics was established early in 2001 as a fabless developer and supplier of monolithically integrated indium phosphide optoelectronic chips. The company claims to be the world's first to have put a multiwavelength receiver on a single chip. ThreeFive is evaluating all possible strategic alternatives, including selling the company.

Also in the news . . .

Fibercore (Southampton, England) has completed the commissioning of its new fiber production facility in Southampton. The new research, development, and production facility took three years to plan and construct and has been funded entirely from retained earnings. . . . GlobalTek (Buford, GA) will now provide installation and product support services for the PLEXiS MFX optical transport system manufactured by Optinel Systems (Elkridge, MD), a provider of optical transport systems for cable television.

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