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Ocean Optics snaps up Oerlikon Optics US

17 Dec 2008

Oerlikon’s Colorado business unit will be integrated into Ocean Optics Thin Films.

The North American operation of Oerlikon Optics has been acquired by Ocean Optics, and will become part of the optical sensing group's Thin Films division based at Largo, Florida.

"The deal positions us to really increase our focus on scientific instrumentation," Ocean Optics president Rob Randelman told optics.org. "Acquiring the Oerlikon division at Golden, Colorado, allows us to increase our customer base in thin films, along with our ability to develop novel products using the technologies and technical capability available there."

The Ocean Optics Thin Films division manufactures dichroic filters, precision optics and coatings. Oerlikon Optics supplies custom optical components and sub-assemblies, and the US operation will now be rebranded as part of Ocean Optics Thin Films.

Although the two companies have a small number of customers in common, Randelman indicated that the two companies operated in complementary markets.

"The Ocean Optics Thin Films business is focused on proprietary IP-restricted work on patterned dichroics and their manufacture," he said. "The Oerlikon facility specializes in more traditional dichroics, so the acquisition presents very little competitive overlap."

Despite the continuing economic gloom, Randelman was upbeat about the financial position of Ocean Optics Thin Films as it looks to expand its markets through the acquisition.

"The economy had no real effect on the Oerlikon deal," he said. "Our customer base is very broad, and although our markets are certainly not recession-proof, they do tend to be recession-resistant. More broadly across Ocean Optics, things have been going well and our markets continue to be robust, especially in Europe."

The Oerlikon group announced in April 2008 that it would divest its Optics business unit, having judged it to be a poor fit with the group's portfolio. Oerlikon Optics was the subject of a management buyout in October 2008, when it was announced that discussions were ongoing with respect to the Colorado and Shanghai units. It will trade under the name Optics Balzers from 2009.

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