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Focuslight snaps up ams Osram passive optics division

14 May 2024

€45M deal with fast-growing Chinese buyer forms part of wider strategic reset.

ams Osram has confirmed the sale of its passive optical components business to China’s Focuslight Technologies, for €45 million in cash.

An imminent sale of the division, which had been identified as non-core to a strategy now focused on intelligent sensor and emitter devices, had been hinted at by ams Osram CEO Aldo Kamper last month.

“With our strategic efficiency program ‘Re-establish the Base’, we have promised as one key element to exit the non-core portfolio in our semiconductor business,” he added in an announcement of the Focuslight agreement, describing the Shanghai-listed company as an “excellent home” for the passive components unit.

However, the consumer-oriented element of the division - which generated around €50 million in sales revenues for ams Osram last year - is not part of the sale, and will instead be phased out this year.

ams Osram says that the transaction remains subject to closing conditions including approvals by the shareholders of Focuslight Technologies Inc., as well as regulatory authorities in China, but is expected to complete by September this year.

Strategic realignment
The move is part of a wider restructuring aimed at creating a leaner and more efficient photonics-focused business than that created by the debt-fueled merger of ams and Osram nearly four years ago.

Kamper and colleagues have been seeking to realign operations since last summer, initially with a streamlined management board and a refinancing arrangement built around an €800 million rights issue.

The firm had also been looking to offload its CMOS imaging sensor unit, but is now restructuring that business after failing to find a suitable buyer. Its latest move is to seek €200 million in support via the European Chips Act for a planned new optoelectronics manufacturing facility in Premstätten, Austria, that would also offer foundry capacity.

But ams Osram was also hit recently by Apple’s bombshell decision not to use microLEDs in its latest smart watches, something that has prompted to company to sell the state-of-the-art facility in Malaysia where the devices were due to be fabricated, with the loss of 500 jobs.

European moves
For the expanding Focuslight, the deal is just the latest in a series of moves to grow the business in Europe. It follows the recent acquisition of Neuchatel-based SUSS MicroOptics, which is now known as Focuslight Switzerland and specializes in micro-optical components used widely in semiconductor and automotive applications.

And back in 2017, the Xi’an-headquartered company had successfully acquired Germany’s LIMO, another European firm with expertise in micro-optics and beam-shaping technology.

Established in 2007, Focuslight listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange towards the end of 2021 and reported a pre-tax profit of ¥96 million ($13.3 million) on sales of around ¥545 million (75.3 million) in its latest annual results.

Prior to the latest deal with ams Osram, the company had grown to employ some 850 people around the world - including nearly 300 outside China.

LIMO's Vitalij Lissotschenko
Focuslight also announced the recent passing of LIMO’s founder Vitalij Lissotschenko. In a statement on the firm’s web site, it stated:

“Dr. Lissotschenko was not only a brilliant scientist but also a visionary leader whose contributions to the photonics industry were immeasurable. His relentless pursuit of innovation and unwavering commitment to excellence propelled LIMO GmbH to great heights, inspiring countless individuals along the way. His legacy will forever be etched in the annals of photonics history.

“We at Focuslight extend our deepest condolences to Dr. Lissotschenko's family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. May his remarkable spirit continue to illuminate our path forward as we honor his memory and carry on his extraordinary legacy.”

Berkeley Nucleonics CorporationOptikos Corporation Mad City Labs, Inc.Universe Kogaku America Inc.HÜBNER PhotonicsTRIOPTICS GmbHAlluxa
© 2024 SPIE Europe
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