NKT Photonics buys Fianium for £21m, forming supercontinuum powerhouse

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NKT Photonics has bought Fianium for £21 million. Both firms provide fibre laser technology, and the acquisition will strengthen NKT Photonics’ position within ultrafast fibre and supercontinuum lasers.

Fianium, based in Southampton, UK, provides ultrafast and supercontinuum fibre lasers, and has a strong presence in the US combined with a global distribution network. In 2015, Fianium had revenue of £7 million and has 54 employees.

Danish company NKT Photonics supplies fibre lasers and photonic crystal fibres. Its products include OCT imaging systems, supercontinuum sources, low noise DFB fibre lasers, and a range of speciality fibres.

The two firms were involved in a patent dispute in 2010, after NKT alleged that Fianium had infringed upon the company's intellectual property rights pertaining to the production of photonic crystal fibre (PCF). PCF is a component used alongside ultrafast lasers in broad-spectrum supercontinuum light sources.

The acquisition combines two major providers of supercontinuum laser light sources, which narrows the small pool of companies supplying these devices to scientists and instrument builders. In 2014, NKT licensed parts of its photonic crystal fibre technology to PicoQuant for use in the German laser company’s Solea supercontinuum lasers. Last November, the company licensed its supercontinuum light sources to Leica Microsystems for use in Leica's TCS SP8 X confocal microscope, designed for high-resolution bio imaging.

NKT also licensed its PCF technology to University of Bath spin-out GLOphotonics in 2011. Now located in Limoges, France, GLOphotonics produces Photonic Microcells (PMC), gas-filled hollow core fibres. NKT Photonics originally developed its technology at the University of Bath and the Technical University of Denmark.

The acquisition of Fianium comes seven months after NKT sold Vytran, a US manufacturer of products to taper and fuse optical fibres, to Thorlabs in 2015.

Jens Maaløe, chairman of the board’s NKT Photonics committee, said: ‘Gaining commercial scale is the key value driver for NKT Photonics. The acquisition of Fianium is not only a good strategic match but it is also an important step towards becoming a leading industrial supplier within NKT Photonics’ largest business segment, imaging and metrology.’

The acquisition does not impact NKT’s 2016 outlook of consolidated flat organic growth and operational EBITDA margin of 9.4 per cent, which is on par with 2015, according to NKT. The acquisition is, however, expected to have a positive impact for NKT Photonics’ 2016 financial development.

NKT Photonics has stated that it will honour all warranties and quotes (that are within their valid period), and has assured users that all Fianium products supported at the time of acquisition will also be supported after.

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Further information:

NKT Photonics