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Business briefs

10 Nov 2008

Featuring news from Coherent, IPG Photonics, Arbor Photonics, Powerlase, Qioptiq and more.

• Weakness within the microelectronics sector impacted fourth-quarter sales and net income for Coherent, although full-year figures were broadly in line with those of the previous year. Sales in Q4 slipped to $142 million from the $159 million posted in the same quarter of 2007, although a loss of $1.3 million was turned into a profit of $4.1 million over the same period. Full-year net income of $23.4 million bettered the previous year's figure of $16 million. The company indicated that it would continue to drive operational efficiency through workforce reductions and a focus on differentiated products within its target markets.

As part of that restructuring, the company's excimer laser site in Munich, Germany will be closed and the operations of the site will be consolidated into the company's existing operation in Göttingen, Germany. The transfer will begin immediately and is scheduled for completion by the end of the company's third quarter of fiscal 2009. The resulting annual pre-tax savings are anticipated to be between $4.5-5.5 million, commencing in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. In conjunction with the previously announced closure of the company's Auburn, California facility scheduled for March 2009, once completed the combined annual pre-tax savings from these footprint changes are projected to be between $8–10 million.

IPG Photonics, a developer of high-power fibre lasers and amplifiers, reported that revenues for the third quarter of 2008 increased by 29% to $62 million and net income increased by 27% to $10.9 million compared with third quarter of 2007. Revenue growth was driven by sales of the company's fibre lasers used for materials processing applications, which increased by 47% to $51 million, as well as strong sales to North American, European and Asian markets. The company expects high-power laser sales to remain strong in the fourth quarter, although lower sales of pulsed laser products in certain Asian markets were also predicted.

Arbor Photonics plans to ramp up development of its optical fibre technology and create 136 new jobs by 2014, representing a significant expansion for the University of Michigan spin-out. Its chirally coupled core fibre, or 3C fibre, is claimed to significantly improve the performance of fibre lasers in industrial manufacturing, and the company has received a total of $3 million in investment to optimize the technology. Arbor plans to make the product commercially available by 2010 and to reach $50 million in sales within the next six years.

Powerlase, a UK manufacturer of nanosecond Q-switched, diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers, has announced the development of the 400G laser for green laser annealing (GLA) in active matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screen manufacture. The 400G has been developed and tested in co-operation with one of the leading display screen manufacturers, according to a Powerlase statement, and the laser is now entering the final development phase before being implemented in high-volume manufacturing facilities. The 400G product is claimed to be the most powerful diode-pumped, solid-state green laser currently available.

Qioptiq, an optical technologies group headquartered in France, has completed the sale of its UK coatings business, Qioptiq Coatings. In a management buy-out, the team, led by Ian Moyes, agreed to purchase the business from Qioptiq SAS for an undisclosed amount. The new company, Artemis Optical, will continue to provide advanced optical coatings at the Plymouth facility. Qioptiq also announced the opening of its 200,000 ft2 factory in Singapore, which is intended to allow Qioptiq to better serve its key defence and commercial customers and provide the Qioptiq Group with a centre of excellence for the manufacture of precision optics in the Asia Pacific region.

• US optical metrology company Labsphere and measurement equipment manufacturer Otsuka Electronics of Japan have partnered to develop total spectral light-measurement systems based on Otsuka's patented HalfMoon hemispherical design. The new systems will incorporate traditional diffuse reflectance technology with specular imaging technology, to provide a far more efficient and practical means for testing forward-emitting light engines according to a joint statement. Otsuka will be responsible for sales of all Labsphere products in Korea and sales of the HalfMoon product family in east Asia. Labsphere will distribute HalfMoon products throughout the rest of the world.

• Dan DiLeo has joined the board of BinOptics, a US manufacturer of Fabry–Perot and DFB laser chips based on proprietary etched-facet technology. DiLeo has 33 years experience in the semiconductor industry, including spells at Agere Systems and Lucent Technologies.

Welch Allyn Lighting Products, a manufacturer of high-performance lighting and technology, has appointed Tod Fisher as its US west coast account manager. Fisher joins from MD Advantage, where he was a sales representative for Siemens Medical Solutions' line of ultrasound equipment. The appointment indicates Welch Allyn's intention to strengthen its west coast customer base and bolster expansion into new markets, according to a statement.

• Peter Weitzman has been appointed vice-president of sales and marketing by Labsphere. He will be responsible for managing sales, marketing, application engineering, customer service and product management for the company's line of light testing, measurement and optical coating solutions. Weitzman rejoins Labsphere from UK-based software engineering company DEM Solutions, having previously worked at Labsphere as a software engineer.

• Todd Rixman has been appointed technical engineering manager by Avo Photonics, a US developer of optical packaging. Rixman has more than 14 years experience in optical and mechanical design, and has previously worked in optical and mechanical design at Princeton Lightwave, JDSU and Kulicke & Soffa Industries.

ECOPTIKIridian Spectral TechnologiesLASEROPTIK GmbHMad City Labs, Inc.Berkeley Nucleonics CorporationCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.LaCroix Precision Optics
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