iXblue acquires two French firms to become 'major player' in photonics

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iXblue's Lannion site

iXblue has acquired Kylia, a developer of optical components and instruments, and Muquans, which specialises in integrated quantum instruments.

The purchase reflects the company's strategy to become a 'major player' in the photonics market. It will mean iXblue will now have with more than 160 people spread over four industrial sites in France, generating a turnover of more than €35m in instruments, lasers and advanced photonics components.

iXblue designs and manufactures equipment in the fields of navigation, photonics, space, and maritime autonomy. 

Founded in 2000, the company employs around 750 people, including 350 engineers and doctors,  with a turnover of €150 million - 80 per cent of which is generated internationally. It has nine industrial sites in France and its headquarters are in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The photonics branch within iXblue is designed to address the space, sensors and metrology, geosciences, fibre lasers and intense lasers, communications and quantum technologies markets.

Kylia, founded in 2003 and located in the New Aquitaine region of France and in Paris, develops and manufactures optical components and instruments based on ultra-precise assembly technology. The products marketed by Kylia are used by industrial manufacturers in the fields of fibre-optic telecommunications, metrology and space.

Muquans, founded in 2011 and also based in the New Aquitaine region, specialises in high performance instrumentation and is the first company to exploit laser-cooled quantum manipulation techniques on an industrial scale. It offers a complete range of solutions based on this technology, including a quantum gravimeter, an atomic clock, frequency transfer systems over fibre, and high performance laser systems.

Muquans' quantum gravimeter

Fabien Napolitano, CEO of iXblue, said: 'This merger is a concrete expression of iXblue's strategy to position itself even more strongly in the photonics market and to become a major player. The combination of iXblue with Kylia and Muquans will enable new synergies to arise from the extraordinary variety of technologies that will be at the core of our offering in this field. It also allows iXblue to be active in the New Aquitaine region, at the heart of a rich ecosystem around lasers and optics.'

Ludovic Fulop, CEO of Kylia, said: 'This merger is a unique opportunity for Kylia to accelerate its international development. It is the result of a common history and a journey during which the teams have crossed paths to develop complementary, active and fruitful collaborations, particularly in the space market.'

Bruno Desruelle, CEO of Muquans added: 'We have discovered that there are countless bridges between the world of photonics, iXblue's fibre-optic inertial systems and Muquans' gravimeters, laser sources and atomic clocks. This union is one of the results of iXblue's presence at the Institut d'Optique d'Aquitaine. This proximity on this site for more than five years has been, in a logical way, the opportunity to share a common vision of the potential of cold atom quantum sensors for ultimate metrology.'

Members of both parties sign the share purchase agreement. Image: Instrument Systems

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