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Huber+Suhner acquires optical networks developer Polatis

07 Jun 2016

Latest acquisition of optical connector specialist follows buyout of WDM-focused Cube Optics in 2014.

HUBER+SUHNER has added Polatis to its portfolio of optical communications interests.

HUBER+SUHNER has added Polatis to its portfolio of optical communications interests.

Swiss diverse photonics company HUBER+SUHNER has signed the contracts to take over Polatis, an optical communications company, based in Bedford, Ma (USA) and Cambridge, UK, with $13 million of annual sales and 110 employees. The closing of the acquisition is expected later in June.

The purchase will be financed entirely from company funds, but the parties agreed not to disclose the financial terms.

In November 2014, HUBER+SUHNER announced the acquisition Cube Optics, a developer of wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) solutions based on injection molding and fiber optic technology. That acquisition was also financed entirely from company funds.

Polatis develops all-optical network switches, which enable improved capacity utilisation in data centres and advanced data management in large telecommunication networks. Both applications are strategic growth areas of HUBER+SUHNER. Polatis provides purely optical switches, which, in contrast to conventional electrical/optical switches, do not convert the signals but control them purely optically. These switches allow for faster switching speeds and the industry’s lowest optical loss, the company claims.

Software-defined networks

“Polatis’ solutions promise great potential for the future,” commented Huber+Suhner, “ The products allow the efficient management of ever-increasing data volumes and support are a key building block in the evolution towards software-defined networks. This product portfolio thus represents a perfect addition to our existing product range. Polatis will form a business unit within our Fibre Optics division. “

Founded in 2000, Polatis now has some 110 employees at its sites in Bedford, MA/USA, Cambridge/UK and Krakow/Poland. Product management, research, development, prototyping and low-volume production are all performed in England whilst high volume production takes place in Poland. The arm of the company based in the USA concentrates on sales. In the last financial year the company generated a turnover of about $13 million, mainly in the USA.

Urs Kaufmann, CEO of HUBER+SUHNER, said that the Polatis portfolio represents a strategic complement to the HUBER+SUHNER product range: ”Polatis' pioneering technology strengthens our position as the leading innovator in the field of fiber optics. In our interconnected world, digitalisation continues at a furious pace, and volumes of data are growing exponentially.

Her added, “The Polatis technology enables these huge data streams to be managed speedily, efficiently and securely. We will further invest into Polatis and we expect to see a breakthrough in the data centre market and a positive financial contribution within the next two to three years. We are pleased that we can count on the full commitment of the complete Polatis management team as we continue to develop the company.“

Gerald Wesel, CEO of Polatis, added, "We recently launched our 384 x 384 switch, which is one of the largest available network switches; in so doing Polatis has confirmed its leading position in the field of optical switches. Thanks to the global presence, the size and excellent reputation of HUBER+SUHNER, we can position our technology more widely in the market. In strategic terms, Polatis and HUBER+SUHNER represent a perfect fit."

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

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