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15 March 2007


Avanex France to become 3S Photonics

Avanex France S.A., the French subsidiary of optical communications component and module supplier Avanex Corp of Fremont, CA, USA (which makes laser, terrestrial pump, submarine pump and fiber Bragg grating products at its indium phosphide and gallium arsenide fabs in Nozay), is to change its name to 3S Photonics. This will take place upon closing of Avanex’s sale, in second-quarter 2007, of a 90% stake in the subsidiary to France-based Global Research Company (owned by entrepreneur Alexandre Krivine) and to the current head of Avanex France, Didier Sauvage. The sale was agreed at the beginning this month. Avanex had previously acquired the business from Alcatel Optronics in 2003.

Avanex is retaining a 10% stake and is entering into several commercial and transitional services agreements, “designed to ensure our customers reliable access to the technology, continuity of supply, and provide transition support,” said chairman, president and CEO Jo Major. It also agreed, upon closing of the sale, to pay the purchasers about $17.3m for anticipated working capital including accrued liabilities for past restructuring activities.

Avanex will maintain a development group of about 20 staff in France, focused on transmission products.

According to the French newspaper Les Echos, the name change accompanies a diversification of Avanex France’s strategy into defense, industrial laser and emerging telecom market segments such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) as well as medical applications. The firm’s estimated turnover is €25-30m this year. The plant currently has 135 staff.

* Avanex appoints new senior vice president

Avanex has appointed Pat Edsell as senior vice president and general manager, responsible for its product development center in Shanghai and the firm’s transmission, components and modules, and advanced modules and subsystems business units.

“Pat Edsell’s extensive background in business and the optics industry greatly strengthens our management team,” says chairman, president and CEO Jo Major. “Under his direction, our business units will continue to execute strategic elements of our business plan by innovating differentiated products that enable smarter and more flexible networks.”

Avanex says Edsell has over 23 years of senior executive experience in the optical and microelectronic industries. He was previously CEO of NP Photonics, a venture-backed photonics start-up specializing in the sensing, medical and R&D market. Prior to that, he was CEO of Spectra-Physics. Edsell also held positions at Pharos AB in Stockholm, GP Technologies, Sun Company and GE.

See related item:

Avanex sells III-V fabs