Nortel to close CoreTek tunable laser unit

30 September 2002 -- Nortel Networks is to close the CoreTek tunable laser unit of its High Performance Optical Components division by the end of 2002, affect about 160 staff.

30 September 2002 -- Nortel Networks Corp says that, by the end of 2002, it will close the Massachussets-based CoreTek VCSEL-based tunable laser unit of its High Performance Optical Components division (HPOC). The closure will affect about 160 staff in Boston, said Nortel spokesman David Chamberlin.

CoreTek was founded in 1994 by its former CEO Parviz Tayebati and acquired by Nortel at the height of the telecom boom in March 2000 for over USD1bn in stock just before the April 2000 technology stock crash. That stock is now worth little over USD6m. Tayebati left CoreTek six months ago.

Nortel has already outlined its intention to sell or close down its HPOC division. But CoreTek was singled out for closure because the market for tunable lasers simply took too long to emerge, says Chamberlin. "The very advanced tunable lasers and filters produced by CoreTek were considered to be very far ahead of market demand," he adds.

Nortel is keeping the intellectual property rights behind CoreTek's tunable lasers and can effectively mothball it until it sees a possible market. However, there is some talk of a buy-out by the management of CoreTek.

In the meantime, Nortel will continue developing and selling fixed-wavelength lasers, but will focus on products which have a more immediate market opportunity.

Nortel is said to be close to selling the remainder of its optical component business - once valued at USD100bn and which Nortel had planned to spin out and publicly list - for USD50m.

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