Qioptiq A TRULY INTERNATIONAL OPTRONICS COMPANY
By Julian Nettlefold
The business model for defence optronics companies in the 1980s was for large conglomerates such as Pilkington of the UK, Philips of the Netherlands and Thomson-CSF, now Thales, of France, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin in the USA, to have specialist defence optronics divisions. In the 90s, those conglomerates shed these Divisions to concentrate either as in Philips and Pilkington’s case on core products and in the case of the US Companies on Prime Contracting, with first tier companies such as L-3 and DRS buying the specialist optronics Divisions of Lockheed, Northrop and Boeing. Initially, Thomson-CSF took a different tack and formed a 50/50 Joint venture with Pilkington’s in 1991, and 100% in 1998. This was followed by the 1999 acquisition of 24.9% of Avimo’s shares and 100% in 2001. Thus Thales-HTO was formed merging Avimo, Avimo Singapore, Thales Optics (including PE in St Asaph), Thales Optical Coatings, Plympton, Devon and Thales Space Systems, St. Asaph, North Wales. Thales had previously acquired Philips’s Signaal interests in Holland in 1991, Thorn EMI and Vinten in the UK. However, in an abrupt change of policy in 2000, Thales changed direction and decided to unload some of its optics interests, including Thales HTO Group.
In 2005 Candover acquired what was then called Thales HTO Group and the Company was rebranded as Qioptiq. Since 2005 Candover has developed Qioptiq into an international optics company covering products in the defence, aerospace and medical sectors. The Qioptiq Group, with its Headquarters in Paris, France, now consists of twelve manufacturing operations in seven different countries and employs some 2,400 employees and achieved sales revenue of US$400 million in 2008. The St. Asaph site generated $140 million of that revenue. Qioptiq enjoyed a record turnover for the in 2008 with sales for the Group, which includes LINOS and Point Source, reaching approximately US$400 million – an organic increase of over 11% on the previous year’s turnover.
Qioptiq’s overseas operations
It is worth taking a glance at Qioptiq’s overseas operations to show the true global reach of the Company.
Point Source UK
Point Source is the world leader in Flexible Laser Technology™ for precision optical instrumentation, based at Hamble, UK, where it employs 70 people in its state-of-the-art R&D, manufacturing and test facility.
The company offers a comprehensive range of single-mode laser to fiber couplers, fiber-coupled lasers (UV, visible and near-IR) and fully customized OEM solutions designed with very high reliability for the most demanding applications.
Point Source is the world leader in Flexible Laser Technology™ for precision optical instrumentation. In April 2009, the company was awarded a Queens Award for Enterprise in recognition of its achievements in international trade. The company increased its overseas revenues by 86% in the three years leading up to the award and sold an impressive £33 million of exports during that period.
Point Source sells direct from its UK-base, via a sales office in Singapore, and through distributors in Japan.
On January 26, 2010, Point Source announced it is to rebrand as Qioptiq as part of Qioptiq’s overall brand refresh and rebranding of its subsidiary companies. Qioptiq, which acquired Point Source in 2008 is a global company that designs and manufactures photonic products and solutions.
“Point Source, which is currently operating under its own name and logo, will rebrand in line with Qioptiq’s overall rebranding strategy, which is part of a set of broader efforts to better serve our customers and make it easier to do business with us,” said John Lowe, General Counsel and Director of Communication for Qioptiq.
Lowe continued: “The rebranding of Qioptiq subsidiaries will include the usual collateral and stationery updates one would expect in such an exer