Laser Industry Report

Oct. 1, 2000
Coherent Announces two new groups and IPO for Lambda; Spectra-Physics acquires Laser Analytical Systems; Tactical Star Wars system passes multi-target test ...

Coherent Announces two new groups and IPO for Lambda
Coherent, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) has reorganized into two new groups. One of the groups, Coherent Photonics Group (CPG) merges the Coherent Auburn Group (Auburn, CA), Laser Group and Semiconductor Group under John Ambroseo, executive vice president. Vacating his position as head of the Semiconductor Group, Vittorio Fossati will lead the other new group as executive vice president. Coherent Telecom-Actives Group (CTAG). CTAG's charter includes Coherent's Optically Pumped Semiconductor (OPS) devices and other active telecom devices. Reporting to Fossati, the Tampere operation in Finland will provide the epitaxial wafer growth for both groups. In other news, Coherent announced in August plans to sell shares in its Lambda Physik AG subsidiary through Germany's Neuer Market. Coherent owns 80% of Lambda and expected to decrease its share to 60% through a September or October IPO. The IPO proceeds were earmarked for investment in new technology development, expansion and additional personnel for the expanding deep UV lithography part of Lambda's business.

Spectra-Physics acquires Laser Analytical Systems
Spectra-Physics (Mountain View, CA), a majority-owned subsidiary of Thermo Electron Corp., has acquired Laser Analytical Systems (LAS), GmbH of Stahnsdorf, Germany, in a cash transaction, the terms of which were not disclosed. LAS, a manufacturer of solid state lasers and accessories, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Spectra-Physics, strengthening the company's participation in the telecommunications and semiconductor markets. "LAS has perfected critical technology for solid state, ultraviolet light generation that is an excellent complement to our existing laser platforms," said Patrick Edsell, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Spectra-Physics. "In particular, we will be able to market an improved solid state source for Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) production."

Tactical Star Wars system passes multi-target test
The Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) system, the result of a tactical "Star Wars" collaboration between the United States and Israel, successfully tracked and destroyed a "salvo" of two Katyusha rockets in August, according to a statement by the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command. The THEL system was designed to negate the threat posed by Katyusha rockets to populated areas in northern Israel. Subsystems include a laser, a pointer-tracker, a command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) center, and a fire-control radar. TRW, Inc. (Cleveland, OH), is the prime contractor. After additional development, testing, and evaluation, the demonstrator will be available for shipment to Israel.

Justice requests more information on proposed JDSU-SDL merger
Due to the size of the proposed merger between JDS Uniphase (JDSU; San Jose, CA) and SDL, Inc. (San Jose, CA), the Justice Department has asked for additional information, just as it did with the recent merger between JDSU and E-Tek (San Jose, CA). Earlier JDSU mergers did not trigger requests for additional information under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, because they probably were not large enough to exceed the threshold, according to Anthony Muller, JDSU executive vice president and chief finance officer. SDL shares dropped 6 27/32 to 405 1/32 and JDS fell 1/8 to 125 on the news. Both companies said they intend to fully comply with the request and still anticipate completing the deal by the end of December.

Also in the news . . .
Lawnmower vendor WOLF Garden (Gwent, UK) exhibited a two-seat, convertible laser lawnmower last month at an international gardening and recreation fair in Cologne, Germany, and may begin production depending on consumer interest. The $30,000 luxury lawnmower is powerful enough for road use and replaces old-fashioned blades or wires with a laser that cuts the grass into pieces fine enough to remain on the ground as fertilizer.

Hassaun Jones-Bey

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

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