Optical components

Opto Speed in Trouble

As if bankruptcy weren’t bad enough, some of the ex-staff of Switzerland’s Opto Speed Holdings SA are now tobogganing all over each other in their attempts to rescue the innovative developer of opto-electronic modules.

The saga started last month when the company’s two biggest investors, The Carlyle Group, and ABN AMRO, declined to stump up any more cash, according to Sabine Wetzel, until recently the company’s head of human resources.

Under Swiss law, this forced Opto’s Swiss subsidiary to file for bankruptcy immediately, because it couldn’t pay its staff. As a result, Opto Speed (Zurich) AG closed its doors on July 22, sending home its 40 employees, including Wetzel.

Since then, Opto’s German subsidiary, Opto Speed Deutschland GmbH, followed suit, filing for bankruptcy and making 20 more staff arbeitslos, according to Wetzel. This has yet to be announced officially, she says. Light Reading wasn’t able to confirm this with official sources, and calls to the Opto’s Darmstadt office went unanswered today. The Swiss authorities have published an official notice citing an article in the country’s bankruptcy law that appears to give creditors the authority to sell the assets of the company.

Creditors are scheduled to meet next week, on August 20, to review assets and liabilities of the company, choose a bankruptcy administrator, and select a creditors' committee, according to the official notice. They will also adopt a resolution of the valuation of "various assets" for which offers have already been made.

This could be a reference to plans that Wetzel started putting in place to resurrect the company and restore at least half of the jobs in the Swiss subsidiary. “There are existing customers who want to continue. There are existing suppliers who want to continue,” she says, adding that she’s also found a prospective buyer of the assets, Avalon Photonics Ltd., another Swiss optical components startup, and one that raised money fairly recently (see Avalon Photonics Raises $5.5M).

Wetzel’s plans, however, have hit a problem, because the ex-managers of Opto Speed’s two main product lines -- for photodiodes and superluminescent light emitting diodes (SLEDS) -- have each come up with alternative plans to create separate, smaller companies. If they succeed, the idea of resurrecting Opto Speed itself will be a non-starter, according to Wetzel.

The crunch could come at next Thursday’s creditors’ meeting.

Call out the St. Bernards!

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

beachboy 12/4/2012 | 11:34:53 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble What's happened to all the SOA suppliers ? Finisar purchased Genoa, but their products ain't being offered. JDSU closed their SOA plant. ALAO is gone. So much for low cost amplification and 3R regeneration.
Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 11:34:52 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble Kamelian (still alive, although on holiday this week)

Avanex? (Alcatel Optronics had a SOA)

Bookham? (Corning had a SOA. Did Marconi or Nortel have SOAs?)

Quantum (http://www.lightreading.com/do... might have died. Its web site is no longer there.

How about Japanese vendors (Santec?)

Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 11:34:51 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble I'd like to hear from the product line managers thinking of setting up their own companies.

If I can help rescue efforts by putting possible investors in touch with ex Opto Speed staff, let me know.

Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 11:34:50 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble Forgot to give my email address:

[email protected]
photopest 12/4/2012 | 11:34:38 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble Hey guys on the subject of whos left with SOAs?

What about PLI (princeton lightwave)
Unlike Quantum, thier web page works and if you look through their site they've have had a whole change in mgmt. No bio's but I think their from JDSU-Epitaxx?

Looks like they got a SOA's.
Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 11:34:25 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble More on Quantum.

Covega has been in touch to point out that its the result of a merger of Quantum and Covega:


Here's an excerpt of Covega's email:

Back in early March of 2003, Quantum Photonics and CODEON merged to create COVEGA Corporation. At the time of the merger, COVEGA raised $17.3M in series-A funding. I can assure you that COVEGA is alive and well. In fact, our SOA program is quite strong and is in production with a major system OEM. Please visit www.COVEGA.com for a complete list of our products.

At many different product levels we used to compete with Opto Speed. Their departure from the market is translating to new business for COVEGA on Superluminescent Light Emitting Diodes (SLEDs) and Fabry-Perot Lasers already.

^Eagle^ 12/4/2012 | 11:32:57 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble Peter,

You need to read your own web site press releases.

Quantum Photonics did not die or close. QPI was merged with Codeon to form Covega Corporation.

Covega still manufactures and supplies SOA's to the telecom market. Covega is supplying SOA's for the Metro DWDM market including single and multiple wavelength amplification. Covega is also supplying SOA for the CWDM marketplace.


Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 11:27:47 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble While I was on vacation, this note came in:

InPhenix (www.inphenix.com) has a very similar product line to that of Optospeed. We are a supplier for SOAs, SLDs and FP Lasers. InPhenix is the follow-on company to Axon Photonics' optoelectronics Group. As Axon, we were the sole supplier of 1310 nm SOAs for Lucent's LambdaRouter
Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 11:27:47 PM
re: Opto Speed in Trouble Point taken on Quantum/Covega.

There's close to 40,000 docs on our website so it's tough to recall every single one...but yes, I could have tried the search tool.
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