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SPI to float on stock market

19 Sep 2005

Fiber laser maker Southampton Photonics announces plans to float on the stock market within the next two months.

Southampton Photonics (SPI), the UK-based fiber laser specialist, has announced its intention to float on the AIM market, a division of the London Stock Exchange. SPI says that it expects to join AIM in late October or early November and expects to raise in the region of £12 million through the issuing of shares.

The firm will float under name "SPI Lasers plc" a new holding company for the SPI group. David Parker, SPI's CEO told Optics.org that the floatation was about fuelling the firm's future business plans.

"This is about expanding our market penetration and reach, expanding our product portfolio and expanding our manufacturing capabilities, all of which leads to the need for more working capital," said Parker.

"This is not about raising money for research this is about raising cash to drive the business forward. It's time for us to grow up and not be a venture backed company anymore."

Unlike, fellow fiber laser marker IPG Photonics which is proving very successful in supplying high-power lasers for applications such as car and ship welding, SPI is targeting the lower power applications such as marking, cutting and drilling medical and electronic products.

In Q4 2005, the firm will release its redENERGY series of pulsed fiber lasers with peak powers ranging from 5 to 15 kW. "The traction with the pulsed laser is tremendous, we're in the trial stage with customers right now but are already receiving orders," said Parker. "The business outlook is optimistic."

Recent market reports suggest that fiber laser market will reach $500 m within five years as manufacturers search for more efficient fabrication technologies. "We believe the next growth phase will be particularly strong and see compelling evidence in our deal flows," said Parker.

Author

Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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