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Thales High Tech Optics relaunched as Qioptiq

25 Jan 2006

Candover brands its EURO 220 million purchase and reveals plans for expansion.

One month ago European private equity firm Candover purchased Thales High Tech Optics for EURO 220 million. Yesterday, as the exhibition doors opened at Photonics West, the firm was proudly displaying its new name: Qioptiq.

Now that things have settled down after the change-over, Qioptiq is considering its future. "Candover bought us on 22 Dec 2005, and intends to develop the group through organic growth and also through acquisitions," explained Qioptiq's CEO Benoit Bazire. "We want to expand and are planning a new factory in Singapore."

The firm specializes in precision visible and infrared assemblies, durable coatings, machine vision technology and micro-optics. Its business is roughly split two thirds in defense and one third in the commercial sector.

Qioptiq has around 1400 employees and is a network of seven international companies located in five countries. Its design and manufacturing facility in Singapore is by far the biggest site in terms of staff, with a workforce of 750. Qioptiq also has locations in the US, the UK, Germany and Hungary.

Bazire is optimistic about the future and hopes that Qioptiq can now grow both sides of the business: defense and commercial. "One area that is particularly buoyant right now is night vision," he said. "Another aspect of our business is providing the cover slips that coat solar arrays on satellites to protect them from cosmic rays. We have 85% of the world market. We also supply micro-optics for the endoscope business and hope to move further into medical applications in the future."

Jacqueline Hewett is technology editor on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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