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Opnext ogles $150 million stock float

Laser chip and avalanche photodiode manufacturer Opnext looks to raise funds on the US stock market.

Opnext, the US-based optical module vendor that owns two compound semiconductor wafer fabs in Japan, is hoping to raise cash via a public sale of its stock.

According to its S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the maximum aggregate price of the offering is $150 million.

Opnext is closely linked with Hitachi. The Japanese electronics and networking giant exchanged its fiber-optic components division in return for 70 per cent of primary "Class A" shares in the venture back in 2001.

As a result, most of the laser and photodiode chips that Opnext uses in its transceiver modules for optical communications are manufactured at the former Hitachi facilities in Komoro and Totsuka, Japan.

Opnext says that it is dedicated to developing innovative new compound semiconductor materials and devices to improve the power consumption, operating temperature and size of its transceivers.

For example, one of its newest products is an InP-based uncooled distributed feedback laser that operates at 10 Gbit/s and at a lower power consumption compared with older types of laser. Opnext has also developed a transmitter that combines a laser with an electro-absorption modulator on the same chip.

Able to exploit Hitachi's deep resources and renowned technological innovation, Opnext is now working with more complex optoelectronic materials, including dilute-nitride (GaInNAs) structures suitable for long-wavelength VCSELs, and high-performance InAlAs photodiodes.

In the latest quarter for which it has published financial results (ended June 30), Opnext posted sales of $40.4 million and made a net loss of $3.5 million.

Sales in the fiscal year that ended on March 31 totalled $151.7 million, nearly double the 2004 figure when the optical communications sector hit rock bottom. Despite the strong upturn in revenue since then, Opnext still made a $30.5 million net loss in its most recent financial year.

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