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Optical components

NeoPhotonics Readies Its IPO

NeoPhotonics Corp. (NYSE: NPTN) has had a long, twisty history, and its IPO filing yesterday just adds to the intrigue, with tidbits including a Huawei addiction and a $46.2 million pre-IPO funding round. The IPO's maximum offering price would be $115 million, according to the S-1 form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) late yesterday.

Maybe it's a sign that optical really is back. The IPO attracted JP.MorganChase as a lead underwriter. Other underwriters listed are Deutsche Bank AG , Piper Jaffray & Co. , Thomas Weisel Partners , Morgan Keegan & Company Inc. , and ThinkEquity LLC .

One big surprise in the S-1 is the extent of NeoPhotonics' dependence on Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. The company lists 14 Tier 1 OEMs as customers, but Huawei accounted for 52.9 percent of revenues in fiscal 2009, which ended Dec. 31. In 2007, that figure was only 16.1 percent.

Table 1: The Huawei Factor
Year Total Revenues % That Was Huawei Revenues From Huawei
2007
$95.8M
16.1
$15.4M
2008
$134M
33.9
$45.4M
2009
$155.1M
52.9
$82M
Source: NeoPhotonics


Privately, other optical components executives have characterized NeoPhotonics as a high-expense company that's in continual need of raising money. But NeoPhotonics reached non-GAAP profitability in 2009: net income of $479,000 on revenues of $155.1 million.

On a GAAP basis in 2009, NeoPhotonics reported a net loss of $6.8 million.

NeoPhotonics' balance sheet lists $43.4 million in cash and equivalents, but that's after a $46.2 million cash infusion during the last two years. Between May 2008 and January 2010, NeoPhotonics sold Series X shares to investors at $100 apiece; the shares would convert to common shares after the IPO, based on a formula that essentially lets investors double their money.

The biggest Series X shareholder is Oak Investment Partners , which picked up 47.5 percent of the 462,436 shares offered. Oak is also NeoPhotonics' largest common-stock shareholder, and Oak partner Bandel Carano is on the NeoPhotonics board.

NeoPhotonics started life as NanoGram in 1996. In 2002, the company separated its telecom business as "NeoPhotonics," spinning off things like medical-device components. NeoPhotonics went through bankruptcy restructuring in 2003, then embarked on a string of acquisitions that broadened the portfolio.

Lightwave Microsystems, a celebrated post-bubble crash victim, was acquired in 2003 and brought photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology to NeoPhotonics. Photon Technology of China, acquired in March 2006, was the biggest of NeoPhotonics' deals, adding 1,200 people to the then 100-employee company. (See Has Lightwave Micro Found a Buyer?, NeoPhotonics Buys Lightwave Micro, and NeoPhotonics Expands in China.)

In 2006, NeoPhotonics also acquired BeamExpress, LightConnect, Optun, and Paxera.

All told, the company has gotten into businesses including optical transceivers; tunable lasers; reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers; FTTx modules for the ONT and OLT; and receivers for 40- and 100-Gbit/s signals.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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