Optics Industry Report

Nov. 1, 2005
Thales and Candover Investments (London, England) have agreed on the sale of Thales High Tech Optics (HTO) operations.

Thales to sell High Tech Optics group

Thales and Candover Investments (London, England) have agreed on the sale of Thales High Tech Optics (HTO) operations. Candover has acquired the businesses, regarded as nonstrategic for Thales, for a cash settlement of $265 million. Thales plans to use the cash generated by the sale to expand what it sees as its core areas in defense and security markets. High Tech Optics specializes in the design and manufacture of high-precision optical components and modules for applications in avionics, defense optics, night vision and space.

In the HTO deal, Candover is backing a management team with extensive industry experience, led by CEO Benoit Bazire. “We have ambitious plans for HTO and plan to create an unrivaled global player able to offer customers a full range of products and services in the high-tech end of the optics value chain,” Bazire said.

Established in 1980, Candover specializes in arranging and leading large buyouts and buyins. To date the company has invested in 125 deals with a total value of more than $30 billion.

Ocean Optics offers hurricane assistance

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) is offering special assistance to those in the optics and photonics industry affected by the devastating storm. The company is making available facilities for light industrial, general office operations, and research laboratory space at its facilities in Orlando, Largo, and Dunedin, FL.

Ocean Optics is also offering assistance to students whose optics/photonics research may have been interrupted by Hurricane Katrina, including locating housing. “We can accommodate graduate students and their professors who need lab space and will offer free access to our equipment,” said president Mike Morris.

Zygo opens new facility for process metrology

Zygo (Middlefield, CT), a supplier of optical metrology instruments, precision optics, and electro-optical design and manufacturing services, has opened a facility in Beaverton, OR, for its new semiconductor process metrology group, headed by Michael Darwin. According to the company, the expansion is part of a recent initiative to apply its optical metrology and detection technology to the semiconductor process control industry. Darwin was formerly head of the process metrology group at Intel’s Portland Technology Development center (Hillsboro, OR).

MONA to coordinate optics and nanotech

The European Commission (EC) has launched a new project within its 6th Framework Programme that will contribute to the coordination of research in photonics and nanotechnologies, the MONA project (Merging Optics and Nanotechnologies). The project has three main objectives: create a common site for the exchange of information concerning research, networks of excellence, and integrated projects in photonics and nanotechnologies; promote the timely exchange of scientific results, market development, and technology needs through MONA-developed workshops; and develop a European roadmap for photonics and nanotechnologies.

RPO producing Kodak lenses

Kodak has reached an agreement with Rochester Precision Optics (RPO; Rochester, NY) to sell RPO the assets used to produce precision glass molded aspheres, spherical lenses, and lens assemblies. RPO will provide precision molded and machined optics to companies that require quick-turn production solutions. RPO will have the capacity to continue to produce all the catalog lenses and lens cell assemblies that were previously produced by Kodak, and plans to start production by January 2006.

For more business news visit www.optoelectronicsreport.com.

Also in the news . . .

HORIBA Jobin Yvon has opened a new applications facility in Longjumeau, France, for the demonstration of x-ray fluorescence spectrometers, sulphur-in-oil analyzers, and ICP atomic emission spectrometers. . . . Acacia Patent Acquisition (Newport Beach, CA) acquired the rights to patents relating to high-resolution optics used by the military and in commercial products. . . . The Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) was awarded a grant totaling $4.16 million for photonic and phononic-crystal research by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). . . . Ondax (Monrovia, CA), a developer of volume holographic gratings and wavelength-stabilized laser solutions, was awarded a two-year, $500,000 Phase II SBIR grant by the National Science Foundation to develop and produce multiline rejection filters. . . . Resolve Optics (Chesham, England) launched a new website, www.resolveoptics.com, to provide an online resource for sourcing specialist lenses and optical designs. . . . The laser optics business of Photonic Products Group (Northvale, NJ) has expanded its production capacity for sets of indium antimonide (InSb) optical components used for imaging assemblies to fulfill its largest production order to date (more than 1400 sets of parts) from Raytheon for high-priority Department of Defense programs.

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