VI Systems partners for $38 million joint venture in Russia for VCSELs

DECEMBER 15, 2009 -- VI Systems GmbH says it will own 35% of a joint venture called Connector Optics based in St. Petersburg, Russia. The new company will manufacture opto-semiconductor epitaxial wafers, chips, and optical components based on vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) and photodetectors.

DECEMBER 15, 2009 -- VI Systems GmbH says it will own 35% of a joint venture called Connector Optics based in St. Petersburg, Russia. The new company will manufacture opto-semiconductor epitaxial wafers, chips, and optical components based on vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) and photodetectors for optical data communications networks.

Two additional investors are the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO) and URALSIB bank in Russia. RUSNANO will own 45.01% of the joint venture and URALSIB bank 19.99%. The total project investment is planned to be 1.1 billion rubles ($38 million) with a chartered capital of 600 million rubles ($21 million).

VI Systems says the new venture will provide it access to “the highest quality epitaxial growth services” for proprietary-designed advanced optical components. The opportunity of market penetration in the European Union (EU), Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other markets will be leveraged for both VI Systems and Connector Optics.

Production ramp is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011.

The primary products of the project will be chips and optical components based on vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL) and photodetectors used in high bit rate optical transmission devices for local and storage area networks, active optical cables, supercomputer interconnects, and upcoming application in the mass market such as optical versions of USB, HDMI, and other interfaces for personal computers, cameras, high-definition TV screens, cell phones, and other devices. The total market of the copper cable assemblies used in these applications exceeded $117 billion in 2008, VI Systems reports.

Scientific support for the project in Russia will be provided by the Physics and Technology Scientific and Educational Center of the Russian Academy of Science (RAS) in St. Petersburg, the A.F. Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute of the RAS, and the Institute of Semiconductor Physics of the Siberian Branch of the RAS in Novosibirsk. The main R&D partner of VI Systems GmbH will remain the Technical University of Berlin.

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