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8 June 2009


France’s Strategic Investment Fund acquires €10m stake in 3S

Late last month, 3S Photonics S.A. of Nozay, France received a capital increase of €10m ($13.6m) through the purchase of new shares by France’s Strategic Investment Fund (Fonds Strategique d’Investissement, or FSI), which gains a representative on the firm’s supervisory board.

FSI was created on the initiative of President Nicolas Sarkozy in late November amid the financial crisis, endowed with €20bn, to help stabilize small-to-medium enterprise (SME) technology and defense firms that are deemed to be strategic.

3S Photonics was founded in 1994 as Alcatel Optronics S.A. (a subsidiary of the Alcatel group) and was acquired in 2003 by Avanex Corp of Fremont, CA, USA, becoming Avanex France S.A. In April 2007, it was bought by chairman & CEO Alexandre Krivine and entrepreneur Didier Sauvage and renamed 3S Photonics.

The firm designs and manufactures both active optical components (incorporating gallium arsenide and indium phosphide optoelectronic laser chips fabricated in-house at Nozay, France) as well as passive optical components based on fiber Bragg gratings, for use in discrete modules for high-speed telecom networks. 3S also provides foundry services using its related epitaxial and wafer processing capabilities. It employs 160 staff and reported revenues of €27.9m for fiscal 2008 (to end June 2008).

FSI will support the firm’s growth strategy to develop new markets. After extending its pump laser technology from submarine to terrestrial applications, 3S is aiming to expand into markets beyond telecoms. The firm has recently broadened its technical expertise to design a new generation of powerful seed laser modules for fiber lasers deployed in industrial systems, e.g. for micro-machining as well as microelectronics, medical and military applications. In January, 3S launched its first product for non-telecom applications: the 1064 CHP 1064nm-wavelength single-mode pump laser module (with an operating wavelength range of 1050-1070nm).

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