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Gooch & Housego expands again with Constelex deal

29 Nov 2013

Acquisition of Greek developer of photonic systems strengthens space and satellite communications activity.

Gooch & Housego (G&H), the expanding maker of optical components and systems, has closed its second acquisition in as many months.

Following a deal to buy Spanoptic completed in mid-October, the UK firm has now acquired the Greek start-up Constelex Technology Enablers in a transaction valued at €650,000. Based in Athens and just four years old, Constelex specializes in low-noise optical fiber amplifiers used in space applications.

Having built up a strong technical reputation, Constelex has secured contracts from the European Space Agency, won research funding from the European Commission, and collaborated with commercial satellite manufacturers.

“The value of Constelex lies in its proven capability in photonic systems for space applications, its relationships with satellite manufacturers and space agencies and its participation in a number of product development contracts and research and development funded programs,” announced G&H in a regulatory statement to the London Stock Exchange.

It continued: “The objective of these activities is to develop and demonstrate next-generation systems applicable to satellite communications. By working in collaboration with satellite manufacturers there is a clear route to commercial exploitation of the technology.”

Torquay relocation
According to G&H, the Constelex team will relocate early next year to join its recently formed “systems technology group” based in Torquay. The recently expanded Torquay site has been selected to host the company’s planned move up the value chain and into photonic systems.

G&H explains that it has set up the systems technology group to function as a separate business unit within the company, with a remit to design, develop and prototype systems-level products. “The objective was to build a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in mechanical, electronic and software design and modelling, and to integrate these technologies with G&H’s expertise in photonics,” it says.

Chief executive Gareth Jones added: “The acquisition of Constelex demonstrates Gooch & Housego’s commitment to accelerating organic growth through the development of high added-value photonic systems for new markets such as space and satellite communications.”

Founded by Efstratios Kehayas in 2009, Constelex was part of the “Corallia” innovation cluster, a public-private partnership in Greece that was set up to boost competitiveness and entrepreneurship in the high-technology sector.

Kehayas is the company’s research and development director, and a member of the “young advisory group” set up by European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes. He was also technical manager for the EC-funded €2.6 million “C3PO” project to develop low-cost, high-efficiency components for optical communications networks.

Constelex has two other directors – photonic component and subsystem designer Leontios Stampoulidis and biologist Stamatia Tzanopoulou. The company believes that its photonic systems could ultimately find applications in life sciences as well as communications.

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