Coherent acquires North American operations of StockerYale

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Coherent has acquired the North American operations of StockerYale in an asset purchase valued at $15m. The acquisition includes all the assets and certain operating liabilities of StockerYale's laser module product line in Montreal, Canada, as well as the speciality fibre product line in Salem, New Hampshire, US.

Speaking with Electro Optics, Paul Sechrist, senior vice president and general manager at Coherent stated that the acquisition was largely strategic from Coherent's perspective. The laser diode module production facility in Montreal fits in well with the company's current laser diode module portfolio while also providing access to the machine vision market, an area in which Coherent is not well established. StockerYale's laser modules are designed for structured light output, which is ideal for machine vision applications. In addition, the structured light capability of the Montreal facility is something the company is interested in for the bioinstrumentation market, a field in which Coherent does traditionally have a strong presence.

'Coherent is a fairly large company and this is a relatively small acquisition, so this is really targeted at improving a particular business segment, the laser diode module group,' Sechrist said. 'What it allows us to do is expand that business into multiple markets [the machine vision market, in particular].' The Montreal business will be integrated into Coherent's existing laser systems and measurements (LSM) group.

The Salem facility fits strategically with Coherent's initiatives to participate in the fibre laser market. 'We have an active programme to make kilowatt-class fibre lasers,' Sechrist continued – the Salem facility provides state-of-the-art material, allowing the company to improve time-to-market of its products.

The speciality optical fibre group becomes part of Coherent's direct diode and fibre group and a strategic internal component supplier to hasten the company's fibre laser initiatives. However, Sechrist stated that the Salem facility would also be retained as a merchant supplier as well as an internal supplier, providing fibre material, fibre assemblies, active optical subassemblies and other such products.

StockerYale will continue to operate both StockerYale Ireland (SYI), which manufacturers LED systems based on chip-on-board LED technology and Photonic Products Ltd (PPL), which distributes laser diodes and manufactures custom laser modules. SYI and PPL represented approximately 47 per cent of total company revenues in 2008.

Mark Blodgett, chairman and CEO of StockerYale, stated: 'This transaction enables the company to significantly reduce debt and focus its resources on growing both our LED systems and PPL businesses. With increased focus, we are confident that we can improve both growth and profitability of these two businesses.'

Sechrist concluded: 'It's a small acquisition that we're [Coherent] quite excited about because it offers both a dovetail of revenue into our organisation, an expansion of our market capabilities for our LDM (laser diode module) group and gives us the key components and technology to execute on our fibre initiatives.'