Fiberoptics Industry Report

April 1, 2000
Corning strengthens its DWDM position; Lucent, DiCon make passive components together; Added investment strengthens Nortel network and component businesses; and more.

Corning strengthens its DWDM position

In a stock deal worth approximately $2 billion, Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) is acquiring NetOptix Corp. (Sturbridge, MA), which manufactures thin-film filters for dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) components. Included in the deal are two NetOptix subsidiaries—Optical Filter Corp., with an optical filter manufacturing facility in Natick, MA, and OFC GmbH, which is completing a facility in Hanau, Germany, for filter R&D and production. Corning also has formed an equity venture with South Korea's Samsung Corp.—Samsung Corning Micro-Optics—to package thin-film filters for DWDM components at an existing Samsung facility in Suwon, South Korea. Finally, Corning will work with British Telecommunications (BT) as a research partner and acquire BT's Photonics Technology Research Center (Suffolk, England) for $66 million, including licenses to 20 patent families.

Lucent, DiCon make passive components together

To reduce capacity constraints, Lucent Microelectronics Group (Breinigsville, Pa) and DiCon Fiberoptics (Berkeley, CA) have formed a joint venture that will develop a new family of integrated passive optical components based on planar substrate technology. Lucent will have 51% and DiCon 49% equity ownership of the venture—LD Fiberoptics LLC—which will be located in a new, highly automated, 30,000-sq ft facility in Richmond, CA. Lucent will use the products for its internal needs, primarily for its optical-amplifier family. DiCon will serve as the distribution channel to the OEM market. Lucent also announced a $30 million expansion of its optoelectronics components operations, including a new 143,000-sq ft building in Breinigsville and a $6 million renovation of a facility in nearby Reading, PA.

Added investment strengthens Nortel network and component businesses

Nortel Networks (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) will invest an additional $260 million in its optical networking and components business, topping an already expected tripling of production capacity expected in 2000. Of the total, $186 million will be invested in Canada, $64 million in Paignton and Monkstown (both in England), and $10 million in other global facilities. Approximately 3400 new positions will be created. The company also announced that it had signed a broad patent cross-licensing agreement with Tellabs (Lisle, IL) giving each company rights to the other's patent portfolios.

Facility completion marks growth of MRV Communications

MRV Communications (Chatsworth, CA) has completed expansion of its third facilty for optical networking components. The new 50,000-sq ft facility can accommodate up to 400 employees and is dedicated to R&D, engineering, packaging, integration, testing, and marketing. Several new processes have been initiated in other facilities as well. Noam Lotan, president and CEO, said the expansion provides added momentum to the company's plans to revolutionize the fiberoptic component business.

New funding caps Lightwave Microsystem investment

Lightwave Microsystems Corp. (San Jose, CA) has secured a fourth round of funding totaling $48 million; it adds to $36 million raised in previous rounds. The company produces integrated optical components on planar lightwave circuits for WDM applications by combining silica and polymer waveguide technology. The round was led by Chase H&Q, a division of Chase Securities, followed by Meritech Capital Ventures and supported by existing investors.

Also in the news . . .

Molecular OptoElectronics Corp. (Watervliet, NY) has received an undisclosed investment from Intel Capital and has begun discussions with an Intel Corp. (Santa Clara, CA) manufacturing support team on ramping up to higher-volume production of its components. . . . The central research laboratory (CSELT) of Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy) is selling its Optical Technology Centre (Turin, Italy) to Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) for an undisclosed sum; Agilent will acquire researchers, CSELT's patent portfolio, and advance laboratory equipment.

W. Conard Holton

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

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