Optical components

Optium Files for $100M IPO

Looking to capitalize on the uptick in the optical sector, components vendor Optium Corp. (Nasdaq: OPTM) is planning a $100 million IPO on Nasdaq , the company revealed Thursday in a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) . (See Smiles Abound at OFC/NFOEC.)

The 10-Gbit/s transceiver firm, which bought its way into the ROADM market earlier this year with the $26.1 million (in new stock) acquisition of Australian firm Engana Pty. Ltd. , is looking to trade publicly with the ticker OPTM after nearly doubling its revenues in the past year. (See Optium to Acquire Engana.)

In its S-1 form, the company said it recorded revenues for the nine months to April 29, 2006, of $48 million, up 92 percent compared with $25 million in the same period a year earlier. The vendor's net loss also grew, though, to nearly $9.4 million in the nine months to April 29 this year, up from nearly $1.6 million during the same period a year earlier.

In the nine months to April 30, the company had four customers that generated more than 10 percent of sales: Scientific Atlanta, "comprised solely of revenue derived directly from Scientific Atlanta" and not as a channel for its owner, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Sanmina Corp. (Nasdaq: SANM); Celestica Inc. (NYSE, Toronto: CLS); and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). The vendor notes that Celestica and Sanmina are contract manufacturers that buy their products on behalf of their equipment vendor customers.

In the form, the company said it had developed "customer relationships" with many major systems vendors, including Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Cisco, Ericsson, Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Scientific Atlanta , Siemens Communications Group , and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA).

It named Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), and Opnext Inc. (Nasdaq: OPXT) as its chief rivals in the 300-pin transceiver market, and Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR), Intel, and Opnext as competitors in the XENPAK and XFP transceiver markets. (See Optium Intros Transceiver Line.)

JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) is its main competitor in the ROADM market, while it battles against Emcore Corp. (Nasdaq: EMKR) in the HFC transmitter sector of the cable components market. However, Optium believes it has no direct competitors for its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) headend transmitter subsystem.

News of Optium's filing will come as little surprise to those in the optical sector. Talk was rife at this March's OFC event in Anaheim that Optium was planning an IPO, though that speculation was unconfirmed at the time. (See OFC: Optics & IPOs.)

Demand for Optium's stock may provide some sort of guidance for any other optical equipment vendors planning a public listing. (See Infinera: $1B IPO Imminent?.)

Optium's offering is being underwritten by Cowen and Co. , Credit Suisse , Jefferies & Co. Inc. , and Morgan Stanley .

The company's CFO David Renner says he can't provide any further information about the IPO timetable or any further supporting details. He verifies, though, that the company has raised $65.9 million from four rounds of funding. Investors include TPG Inc. and Battery Ventures .

The company has 146 staff and has its headquarters in Chalfont, Pennsylvania. Its other significant location is Sydney, where Engana, now called Optium Australia, is based.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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