LONDON -- Acquisitive optical components group Avanex Corp. is attempting to sell its Livingston, Scotland, facility originally established by arrayed waveguide gratings start-up Kymata.
Kymata was sold first to Alcatel Optronics in 2001 and then just months ago sold on to Avanex (Fremont, Calif.).
The company told employees that if the facility could not be sold, it would be shut down within months. Avanex has started a employee consultation program that is a precursor to closure.
Soon after it bought Alcatel Optronics, Avanex reduced the workforce at Livingston from about 160 to under 100. At its peak in 2000, Kymata employed over 350 people.
Walter Alessandrini, Avanex chairman and chief executive, said the company is "investigating all of our options with regard to Livingston."
Derek Milne, a spokesman for Avanex, told CommsDesign.com: "Paul Negus, vice president of operations at Avanex came over from the U.S. and held a 'town-hall' meeting at which he revealed the company is reviewing its worldwide operations, outlined the prospects for the optical components market and the options for the Livingston facility."
Milne said the passive optical components business remains slow, and is at best "flat".
In addition to the Livingston plant, Avanex has manufacturing and development facilities in Fremont, Erwin Park, N.Y., Nozay, France, and San Donato, Italy. Avanex would not say whether any other facility is likely to be closed as a result of the operations review.
Most of the facilities were acquired through the purchase of Alcatel Optronics, several photonics units of Corning and, in August 2003, Vitesse Semiconductor's optical systems division.
The Livingston facility is Avanex's center of excellence in passive optical components based on Fiber Bragg grating and planar lightwave circuit technologies. The facility includes one of the highest volume optoelectronic IC production lines in the world for wavelength-division multiplexing devices.