21 July 2010


Oclaro buys optical transport sub-system provider Mintera

Optical component, module and subsystem maker Oclaro Inc of San Jose, CA has acquired privately held Mintera Corp of Acton, MA, USA, which makes high-bit-rate optical transport sub-systems.

Oclaro says that the acquisition broadens its product portfolio for high-speed telecoms, and will reinforce its position as an optical communications provider. The firm will consequently offer components and sub-systems covering all of the major modulation technologies necessary for high-performance 40Gbps data transmission in regional, metro, long-haul (LH) and ultra-long-haul (ULH) networks.

“Oclaro’s acquisition of Mintera is the latest in a series of strategic moves to increase our addressable market, better serve our customers and outdistance our competition,” says president & CEO Alain Couder. Specifically, the firm reckons that the acquisition represents another step in building its position in 40Gbps regional and metro networks by broadening its product portfolio and systems expertise to expand into 40Gbps LH and the 100Gbps coherent markets.

Infonetics Research forecasts that the 40Gbps long-haul optical component market will reach $150m in 2011, divided almost equally between DPSK (differential phase shift keying) and DQPSK (differential quadrature phase shift keying) technologies. Mintera has achieved noticeable market acceptance of its 40Gbps Adaptive DPSK transmission module, which enables ULH transmission compatible with 50GHz channel spacing. Oclaro says that, by adding Mintera's DPSK technology and products to its existing portfolio of DQPSK components and modules, it can now offer a complete line of solutions for the full range of 40Gbps networks, maximizing the internal use of its discrete optical engines.
Oclaro believes that, beyond 2011, the 40Gbps DPSK market will begin to migrate to coherent technologies, enabling lower line costs and simplified deployments. Mintera’s 40Gbps PM-QPSK (coherent) module is planned for production by second-half 2011. Its 40Gbps coherent technology development is expected to further enhance Oclaro’s competitiveness in the development of 100Gbps components and modules.

Due to an existing, comprehensive partnership agreement between Mintera and ClariPhy Communications Inc of Irvine, CA, USA, a fabless semiconductor company providing mixed-signal ICs for 10, 40 and 100Gb/s optical networks (and also an Oclaro strategic partner), the 40Gbps Coherent module is expected to be the first product of its kind on the market.

Mintera’s team includes technical experts with knowledge of high-performance, optical systems, who are expected to augment Oclaro’s own systems-level capabilities. The firm’s president & CEO Dr Terry Unter has agreed to remain with Oclaro for a transitional period and lead the new 40/100Gbps modules and subsystems division, reporting to Couder. During this period, Couder and Unter will also explore a longer-term role for Unter in Oclaro’s executive management team. Unter has more than 20 years experience in the optical communications industry, including executive, engineering, management and operations positions at firms including Corvis Corp, AMP Inc, Alcatel, and Northern Telecom.

“Oclaro’s products and technologies are highly complementary to Mintera. We serve different but complementary segments of the telecommunications supply chain,” says Unter. “Mintera can leverage Oclaro's strong customer relationships and recognized brand to accelerate sales of our products and technologies,” he adds. “In addition, the Mintera team will contribute significantly to helping Oclaro create a leadership position in 40Gbps and 100Gbps LH and ULH telecommunications markets,” he believes. 

Mintera’s revenue was about $20m for the 12 months to end-June 2010. The acquisition’s terms call for a payment of $12m in cash upon close, plus a revenue-based earn-out (payable in cash or stock, at Oclaro’s option) ranging from $0 to $20m (on achieving cumulative revenue of $70m over the next 18 months). Oclaro believes that the Mintera business will generate operating losses (excluding restructuring charges and stock compensation) of $1–2.5m per quarter in each of the remaining calendar 2010 quarters, improving each quarter and with breakeven targeted for the March 2011 quarter. Oclaro’s target model for the Mintera-related business is to deliver gross margins of 40–45% and operating margins of 20–25% (well above Oclaro’s existing target model).

See related items:

Oclaro invests in ClariPhy to speed 100Gb/s coherent product development

Oclaro grows margin for third consecutive quarter

Mintera ships first small-form-factor 40Gb/s DWDM DPSK module

Search: 100Gb/s coherent Mintera Oclaro