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Business briefs

14 Jul 2008

Featuring news from StockerYale, GSI Group, Intel Capital, Dynasil, Arden Photonics, Synova and more.

StockerYale has initiated a takeover bid for Virtek Vision International, a developer of laser-based templating, inspection, marking and engraving products. Virtek's board of directors has appointed a special committee of independent directors to evaluate the unsolicited bid.

GSI Group, a manufacturer of lasers, scanners and other products for the medical, chip and aerospace markets, has acquired Excel Technology in a move said to significantly expand its profits and market share. Excel sells laser-based and mechanical marking and engraving systems used for coding, marking, engraving, deep engraving, 3D engraving, and permanent marks on various materials. The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter. The deal follows GSI's move to sell General Optics to Gooch & Housego.

• Recent announcements from Intel Capital have demonstrated the company's interests in the growing cleantech and solar energy sectors. Sulfurcell, a German developer of CIS/CIGSe (copper indium gallium sulphide/selenide) photovoltaics (PV), has secured €85 million ($135 million) equity funding for a significant expansion of its manufacturing, including a new plant in Berlin for the production of CIS/CIGSe based thin-film solar modules. The plant will have an annual capacity of 75 MW with an intermediate expansion to 35 MW. This significant financing will see the company transfer its proprietary technology into mass production, according to a statement. Intel Capital led the funding round with an investment of €24 million.

Intel Capital also announced the formation of SpectraWatt to manufacture and supply PV cells to solar module makers. SpectraWatt is described as an important investment for Intel Capital in the growing cleantech sector, with technology resulting from entrepreneurial efforts inside Intel. SpectraWatt expects to break ground on its manufacturing facility in Oregon, US, in the second half of 2008 and begin product shipments by mid-2009.

Dynasil, a US manufacturer of optical materials, components, coatings and specialized instruments, has acquired specific assets of RMD Instruments and the company's Radiation Monitoring Devices unit, located near Boston. The purchase price totalled approximately $20 million. RMD products serve the medical imaging, environmental sensing and quality control instrumentation markets, and the deal was described as a transformational event for Dynasil which expects to more than triple its revenues and profits.

• A new distribution agreement will see Arden Photonics distribute ESDI's optical metrology products in the UK and Ireland. ESDI's technology includes IntelliWave software for interferometer surface and wavefront analysis, and Intellium Asphere, claimed to be the world's fastest interferometer for aspheric metrology.

• The Nano Instruments business unit of MTS Systems has been acquired by Agilent Technologies. It will join Agilent's Materials Science Solutions Unit within the Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business, and is said to strengthen Agilent's portfolio of instrumentation for imaging, characterizing and quantifying nanomechanical material properties. Financial details were not disclosed.

ISP Optics, a US manufacturer of precision infrared optical components, has acquired the coating assets of Opticorp, a provider of infrared optical coatings. The acquisition represents ISP's continuing vertical integration of its infrared business, according to the company. David Smith, owner of Opticorp, will continue as the manager of coating operations for ISP Optics.

Synova, a developer of water jet-guided laser technology, has received a follow-on order for its Laser MicroJet (LMJ) systems from a European-based solar cell manufacturer. Representing one of Synova's largest equipment orders to date, the 25 LMJ systems will be integrated into the customer's European-based solar fab, and be used to cut the venture's 125- and 156-mm polysilicon EFG-octagonal tubes into wafers for solar cell manufacturing. Several LMJ systems have already been shipped and installed, with the remaining modules to be integrated throughout 2009 and 2010.

People

• Calvin Hsieh has been named sales manager by PD-LD, a US manufacturer of fibre-coupled laser diodes, volume Bragg grating elements and other photonic components. Hsieh will be responsible for overseeing customer relations, exploring new business opportunities and identifying and selecting key suppliers in Asia. The company had previously serviced its entire customer base from its New Jersey location, but Hsieh will be stationed in Southern California to provide a new presence and improved customer access in the West Rim and Asia.

eSolar has appointed Merrick Kerr as chief financial officer, to oversee the company's plans to bring its solar thermal power plants to market. Kerr brings with him 15 years of experience in the energy industry, including nearly seven years in the renewable energy sector.

PerkinElmer has appointed Daniel Marshak to the position of president of its Greater China operations. Marshak will assume overall leadership of PerkinElmer in Greater China, and will be responsible for expanding its resources in the region to drive innovation and new product introductions. He will be based in Shanghai, strengthening the company's executive and scientific presence in the country. Marshak will continue in his role as senior vice president and chief scientific officer for the company.

• Azim Dahya has been named interim chief financial officer by Zecotek Photonics, replacing Michael Minder who will continue to work with the company in an advisory role. The change reflects the company's expansion to the point where a CFO with particular expertise in managing the growth of its operating photonics business is necessary, according to a statement.

• Pete Moorhouse has been appointed vice president of sales and marketing by Optis, a developer of light simulation solutions based in France.

SCHOTT North America has named Eric Urruti as director of research and development for the North American region. Urruti will lead the company's North American research and development group, which is based in Pennsylvania.

LASEROPTIK GmbHCobolt ABBristol Instruments, Inc.LightPath TechnologiesDIAMOND SASchaefter und Kirchhoff GmbHSpectrum Scientific Inc. -  SSI Optics
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