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Avanex and Bookham become Oclaro

Three divisions in the combined company will each exploit semiconductor laser technology from Bookham as it strives for profitability.

Bookham and Avanex were officially united as a single company called Oclaro, which aims to become the leader in the optical communication industry, on April 27.

However the combined management will have to work hard to improve its financial performance, after Bookham recorded increased losses for the first quarter of 2009.

“Going to profitability is climbing a mountain - we put one foot in front of the other,” conceded Alain Couder, chief executive officer of Oclaro.

Although Bookham s net loss for the March period grew to $13.3 million from $6.5 million sequentially, the company stressed that its gross profit margin stayed above 20 percent.

It retained this figure even though its revenues fell to $47.0 million from $50.2 million in the period ended December and $59.7 million in the quarter before that.

The credit for retaining that margin was laid at Bookham s efforts to control costs and intake of materials, something it believes will be easier as a bigger company.

In part becaue of this, the combined Oclaro is hoping to expand that gross profit margin to 30 percent.

Other immediate gains are targeted from integrating GaAs-based pump lasers from the former Bookham into optical components from the former Avanex.

Beyond that Oclaro will continue to use contract manufacturers like Fabrinet who Avanex had previously worked with, where that provides an advantage. In the longer term it will try to change its focus towards more profitable products.

The former Bookham s InP and GaAs laser chips will be sold by Oclaro s transmission division, alongside many of the basic modules and amplifiers that use them.

Couder claims that this division s tunable lasers have been taking an increasing share of the available market. He also says that higher levels of photonic integration in its InP chips will also help the division produce some of the lowest cost 40 Gbit/s technology around.

Semiconductor lasers will also be important to Oclaro s advanced photonic solutions division as it works on increasing their penetration of non-telecoms applications.

Oclaro s remaining regeneration and optical routing division will also sell the highest power packaged pump lasers, amongst other products.

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