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26 Mar 2007

Featuring news from CyOptics, Apogee Photonics, CIR, Arima Optoelectronics, Enablence Technologies, Olympus Microsystems America, Operax, Qinetiq, Alfalight, Transmode and others.

CyOptics a developer of indium phosphide optical chip and component technologies, is to acquire Apogee Photonics, a supplier of laser sources for 10 Gbit/s and 40 Gbit/s markets. The acquisition extends CyOptics' high-speed source laser capabilities and gives the company a comprehensive portfolio of InP-based transmit and receive optical chips and components for communications applications. Apogee Photonics manufacturers high-speed lasers and offers a broad portfolio of short and long reach products. "10Gbit/s ports are really hitting their stride right now, accelerated by Ethernet at this speed," said Karen Liu, research director, Components at Ovum-RHK. "10Gbit/s ports overall will grow from 578,000 shipped in 2006 to over 3&nps;million forecasted for 2011."

Arima Optoelectronics, a Taiwan-based LED manufacturer, is spinning off its laser diode manufacturing division to set up a new company called Hua Xin Optronics, according to the company's filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange and Digitimes. The company will focus on LED manufacturing after the restructuring. Arima began its laser diode business in 1999 with its main partners, Sony and Matsushita. The laser diode division accounted for NT$1 billion ($30 million), about 32% of the company's revenues in 2006. Taiwan's Chinese language Apple Daily and Digitimes reported that the company will invite Sony and Matsushita to invest in the new company.

Olympus Microsystems America, a developer of MEMS-based wavelength selective switches for the optical communications industry, is moving to new offices in the San Francisco, California and Atlanta, Georgia areas. The move resulted from the need to increase research and development, design, and prototyping facilities for its new lines of optical switching products. Headquarters for Olympus Microsystems America are now located in Redwood City, California, while the company's R&D Center has moved to Norcross, Georgia. Volume manufacturing continues to take place at the Olympus MEMS and optical facilities in Japan.

QinetiQ has invested an additional £3.5 million ($6.9 million) in ZBD Displays, as the lead in a £10.5 million funding round. ZBD, the first spin-out from QinetiQ, was established in July 2000 to commercialise zero-power liquid crystal displays. The company will use the new funding to develop its emerging business as a supplier of electronic retail signage.

Alfalight, a manufacturer of high-power diode lasers, has been awarded an R&D contract worth $1.7 million from the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Maryland. This 12-month program, entitled "Scalable High Efficiency Solid-State Laser" (SHESSL), will enable Alfalight to develop high-power fiber-coupled pump modules especially suitable for pumping high power fiber laser systems developed in conjunction with ARL. The objective of the contract is to develop very high power pump blocks, suitable for use in building compact and efficient high-power fiber lasers.

Fiber and communications

• The market for optical networking components will grow from approximately $2.8 billion in 2007 to $7.9 billion in 2012, according to newly released forecasts from industry analyst CIR. The forecasts will be available as part of CIR's latest report on optical components to be released after OFC 2007 on 2 April. The optical components business will experience significant growth in revenues over the next few years due to: the expansion of optically-addressable markets. Taking optics closer to the customer is enabling volume opportunities for components manufacturers that simply have not existed in the past. Optical solutions are in some cases, the only means available to building cost effective, high bandwidth access and enterprise networks. The report cites three key developments driving this demand.

Firstly, the accelerating use of 10 GigE in corporate networks and data centers: 10 Gigabit Ethernet deployments will be largely optical, whereas previous Ethernet versions were dominated by copper. CIR projects the value of lasers used in Ethernet networks to grow to $1.2 billion by 2012 from just over $300 million in 2007.

Secondly, passive optical networks (PONs) are becoming the technology of choice for residential access networks. CIR expects more large carriers to adopt ambitious PON deployment strategies in the next few years. As a result, the firm believes that the market for PON lasers and detectors will exceed $800 million by 2012 and the value of PON splitters will almost double to around $450 million in that same time period.

Thirdly, more WDM: Carriers are increasingly adopting agile WDM technology in their core transport networks. CIR expects that this will cause a rapid expansion of demand for ROADMs, WDM filters and tunable lasers. According to CIR's estimates, tunable lasers will be the fastest growing major segment of the components market, reaching almost one billion dollars by 2012.

Enablence Technologies, a developer of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) transceivers for optical modems, has signed an agreement to acquire Albis Optoelectronics, a developer of photodiodes for the datacom and FTTH markets. "Enablence will acquire all the shares of Albis for $4.1 million and almost 1.9 million common shares of Enablence Technologies priced at $1.10 per share," said Arvind Chhatbar, CEO of Enablence.

Operax has been awarded the 2007 European ICT Prize at CeBIT, Hanover for its product, Operax Bandwidth Manager 5500. The award recognizes Operax's innovation for the provision of carrier grade solutions for Quality of Service Control in multi-service converged all-IP networks. The European ICT Prize is organized by Euro-CASE, the European Council of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering, with the sponsorship and support of the European Commission. Operax was among 20 winners selected from 450 companies around Europe.

Transmode, a developer of multi-reach optical networking solutions, has closed a funding round of $12 million to accelerate its market penetration and product development. This latest round of funding takes the company's total investment to date to $93 million and includes all existing major investors in the company.

"Following our excellent growth and performance in 2006, the time is right for Transmode to take advantage of market conditions and to invest to further increase our market share," said Rune Hurtig, Transmode's Chairman and acting CEO. The company recently announced sales growth in 2006 of over 150% from approximately $20 million in 2005 to $54 million in 2006. This was through both continued growth within existing customer accounts and the addition of a further 40% to the customer base, taking the total number of customers to over 150.

People

Transmode has also announced that Eva Lindqvist, most recently president of international carrier TeliaSonera has joined the company's board of directors. "Eva brings many years of senior management experience and a global network of industry contacts," said Rune Hurtig, Chairman and acting CEO. Lindqvist holds a Master of Science from Linköping Institute of Technology, Sweden, and a Master of Business Administration from Melbourne University, Australia.

Opnext a developer of optical modules and components, has elected two new members to its board. The new members are Kendall Cowan and Isamu Kuru. These elections follow the election of John Otto who was recently elected to the board immediately prior to the company's initial public offering.

JMAR Technologies has appointed Michael Sweatman as its Chief Financial Officer. Sweatman has extensive experience as a senior financial executive. He has previously been the managing general partner of Green Mountain Capital, L.P., a successful Vermont-based Small Business Investment Company, for the past fifteen years.

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