Ericsson sells opto division to Northlight Optronics

21 January 2003 -- Ericsson has sold its Ericsson Optoelectronics division to Northlight Optronics AB, formed by a consortium led by UK VC firm EDP and Finnish VC firm CapMan together with a new management team .

21 January 2003 -- Ericsson has sold its Stockholm-based Ericsson Optoelectronics division to Northlight Optronics AB. The sale includes all activities, including intellectual property and development and the manufacturing operations in Kista, Sweden. The product range includes laser modules (Tx), receiver modules (Rx), integrated transponder/transmitter modules, and erbium-doped fibre amplifiers (EDFAs) for operation up to 10Gbit/s.

Northlight has taken on all 48 staff. Ericsson retains 9.9% ownership in Northlight. The sale is in line with Ericsson's on-going process to focus on its core business of providing systems and services for telecom operators.

Northlight is a new company formed by a consortium of investors and individuals led by UK venture capital firm European Digital Partners Ltd (EDP) and Finnish venture capital firm CapMan Capital Management Oy together with the new management team of: CEO Keith Halsey, EDP's senior opto advisor and former founder/CEO of laser manufacturer Lyte Optronics Inc (sold to AXT Inc) and Demeter Inc (sold to Finisar Inc); COO Robert Green, former VP of business development with Bookham Technology plc; CTO Dr David Darby, ex-CTO of Lyte Optronics; and CFO Tom Mellkvist, ex-CFO of ADC Telecommunications Inc in Sweden (formerly Altitun AB).

"We are well positioned to meet the recovery in demand in this sector and have substantial revenues in place," says Halsey. "I believe that this investment represents an excellent opportunity to enter the market in advance of expected recovery together with a management team with whom EDP has worked closely for number of years," says EDP's managing partner Erik Fallstrom.

"CapMan has been active in companies in the optics industry such as Altitun and EM4. Based on this experience and long-term industry insight, the investment is seen as attractive despite a heavy shake-out in the worldwide optics industry," says Lennart Jacobsson, head of CapMan's Technology Business Unit. "We believe Northlight Optronics is well placed to benefit from the recovery of the market, which is expected to happen in the next two to three years."

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