Fiberoptics Industry Report

June 1, 2000
Free-space optical systems garner OEM interest; LightPath Technologies acquires Horizon Photonics; and more.

Free-space optical systems garner OEM interest

The battle of the free-space optical networking systems is on. Privately held AirFiber (San Diego, CA) has introduced its OptiMesh free-space optical transmission platform as a carrier-grade optical-mesh-network technology for dense urban areas. OptiMesh connects buildings with no direct fiber access to existing fiber access points in nearby buildings at data-transmission rates of up to 622 Mbit/s. The company is conducting trials in Tokyo, Japan; Madrid, Spain; and Dallas, TX; and has plans to test its equipment in Brussels, Belgium; Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; Denver, CO; and Portland, OR; later this year. Providing OEM support is Nortel Networks (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), an AirFiber investor that has a resale agreement with the firm to market and distribute its laser equipment under a co-branded name. AirFiber competitor Terabeam Networks (Seattle, WA) is partnering with Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) to develop and deploy its fiberless optical networking system for high-speed data networking between local- and wide-area networks. TeraBeam and Lucent will own 70% and 30%, respectively, of TeraBeam Internet Systems, a joint venture that will combine the point-to-multipoint fiberless optics technology with Lucent's point-to-point OpticAir technology.

LightPath Technologies acquires Horizon Photonics

Telecom optical-components manufacturer LightPath Technologies (Albuquerque, NM) has acquired Horizon Photonics (Walnut, CA), a privately held firm specializing in the automated production of passive optical components for the telecommunications and data-communications markets. Horizon will continue to operate from its current location as a wholly owned subsidiary of LightPath. Under the terms of the agreement, shares of LightPath common stock and cash with an aggregate value approaching $36.2 million were exchanged for all outstanding shares of Horizon. The cash portion of the transaction totaled $1.0 million. In addition, LightPath will issue approximately 1.2 million shares of its class A common stock subject to final adjustments.

Corning acquires NZ Applied Technologies, plans expansion at Lasertron

Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) has reached an agreement to acquire the remaining 80% equity that it does not own in NZ Applied Technologies (NZAT; Woburn, MA) for up to $150 million in stock. A significant portion of the purchase price is contingent upon NZAT achieving certain product-development milestones. NZAT manufactures high-speed solid-state components for dense wavelength-division multiplexing systems. Corning intends to leverage NZAT's expertise in micro-optic components to create new products for optical networks. In other news, Corning announced a plan to double the manufacturing capacity at its Corning Lasertron plant (Bedford, MA), which produces optoelectronic components, including pump and transmission lasers and receivers. The expansion, to be funded by a $45 million capital expenditure, is expected to create more than 300 new jobs.

ITF Optical Technologies moves into volume deliveries

ITF Optical Technologies (Saint-Laurent, Canada), a privately held manufacturer of passive components for optical transmission systems and next-generation all-optical networks, has closed a $28 million round of funding, bringing the company's total funding to more than $40 million since its startup in 1998. The firm also has completed its first Telcordia (formerly Bellcore) qualification program GR-1221 (reliability requirements for passive components).

Also in the news . . .

Lightwave Electronics (Mountain View, CA) has appointed Phillip C. Meredith, previously a vice president at Siemens Information and Communications Networks, as president and CEO. . . . Fibercore (Charlton, MA) is acquiring optical-fiber manufacturer Xtal Fibras Opticas SA (Campinas, Brazil) for $25 million from Algar SA. . . . Ibsen Micro Structures (Copenhagen, Denmark), which manufactures optoelectronics products for telecommunications and sensor applications, and Altitun (Kista, Sweden), a manufacturer of tunable lasers and transmitters, have both been acquired by ADC (Minneapolis, MN).

Paula Noaker Powell

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

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