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Optical components

MetroPhotonics Shuts Down

Having managed to hang on longer than many of its peers, optical components company MetroPhotonics Inc. is finally calling it quits.

The Ottawa Citizen reported this morning that the shareholders have voted to close down the company.

Its swan song is an "orderly wind-down," says John-Peter Bradford, CEO and a founder of the company. That means no bankruptcy: MetroPhotonics plans to settle its debts and disperse some money to shareholders. "All the suppliers, the creditors, and the employees will be paid in full," Bradford tells Light Reading.

MetroPhotonics employed 30 as of last spring, Bradford says.

The startup emerged in 2000 amid the optical boom with a base team of scientists from the National Research Council of Canada. MetroPhotonics aimed to build planar waveguides in indium phosphide (InP), making components such as WDM multiplexer/demultiplexers.

Several other startups, such as Optenia Inc., had similar plans for planar waveguides, but many crumbled in the downturn. MetroPhotonics survived and had begun applying its technology to triplexers for triple-play fiber buildouts, but Bradford told the Citizen that "significant market demand" was at least a year out -- too distant a horizon given MetroPhotonics' situation. (See Optenia's Loss is MetroPhotonic's Gain and Metrophotonics Samples Triplexer.)

MetroPhotonics raised roughly $70 million Canadian (US$60.8 million, using today's conversion rate), most of it in a 2000 round. Much of the money went toward building a fab -- quite the trend back then, especially among InP specialists. The fab was shut down this year, and the equipment auctioned off. (See MetroPhotonics Raises $62.5M CDN, MetroPhotonics Gets $5.6M, and MetroPhotonics Sheds Its Fab.)

But it's not all doom and gloom in the InP sector. In August this year, Alphion Corp. closed a $12 million funding round to help it ramp up shipments, while Agility Communications Inc. raised $15 million earlier this year before it was swallowed by JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) in September. (See Alphion Completes $12M Round and JDSU Tunes In Agility).

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

deauxfaux 12/5/2012 | 2:50:37 AM
re: MetroPhotonics Shuts Down These guys never made a fully BPON spec compliant sample of anything. They never got through qualification either. They sold off everything in their fab during the summer and used the cash to survive and pay off their creditors.

Their story never had anything to do with demand. The technology never worked
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 2:50:32 AM
re: MetroPhotonics Shuts Down Thanks deauxfaux -- good input. Makes sense given that MetroPhotonics started BPON so late.

How about their mux/demux stuff? Will any of that be missed?

Physical_Layer 12/5/2012 | 2:50:31 AM
re: MetroPhotonics Shuts Down I think they probably had insertion loss issues as the main problem, but overall the InP technology they had was very cool.

But that John Peter Bradford guy ... talk to anyone who's worked with him.

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