Jennifer L. Morey
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Following its $9.5 million purchase of Ealing Electro-Optics plc last month, Coherent Inc. established its first-ever catalog division, which will become part of the Coherent Auburn Group. Paul Kenrick, the founder and former president and CEO of OptoSigma Corp. of Santa Ana, has been appointed vice president of the division.
This purchase, which mirrors the company's strategic acquisitions over the past several years, turns over to Coherent the assets and operations of the Watford, UK-based firm and its US subsidiary, Ealing Electro-Optics Inc. of Holliston, Mass.
According to company representatives, the catalog division was established in part to better serve R&D customers. Said Kenrick, "Coherent has an excellent name with research and development people but hasn't been set up in the past to serve those people well." The new division will allow "the quality that you'd expect from Coherent to be available to R&D engineers," he said.
"It's a new step for the company," added Robert Gelber, vice president and general manager of the Auburn Group. Gelber expects the acquired business to double in size within three years.
The Coherent-Ealing Catalog will feature the precision optical assemblies and lens and thermal imaging test systems offered in the Ealing "Gold" catalog along with many Coherent additions. "Ealing is a very strong starting point," Kenrick said, indicating that the "Gold" catalog was one of the oldest in the industry.
Among the Coherent products offered, the majority will come from the Auburn Group's Instruments Div. "Most of these were 'catalog products' already. ... We just never had them available in a catalog before," Gelber noted.
Instrumentation products and laser optics will be included, as well as a number of component-type products from the Laser Group. "We'll be looking at those products which are clearly defined and needed by a wide range of [laser users]," Kenrick said.
He said Coherent will also set up a technical support network for its catalog products that will have its headquarters in Auburn. The East Coast will be represented in Holliston, and users in other areas will be supported by the worldwide Coherent network.
In terms of the division's goals, Gelber said, "We want to be the first book they pick up." He realized, however, that that objective wouldn't be achieved overnight. Indeed, the well-established company will face stiff competition from catalog powerhouses such as Melles Griot and Newport Corp.
When asked if Coherent would be competing directly with OptoSigma, the company he founded, Kenrick said that product crossover between the companies is inevitable.
David Rossi, marketing manager of OptoSigma, said the addition of Ealing products will create more competition than ever between his company and Coherent. He added, however, that OptoSigma wants to maintain a positive relationship with Coherent. "We will work closely from a leadership standpoint to continue to develop the industry," he said.
In addition to branching out with the catalog division, the Ealing acquisition will allow Coherent to bolster its existing precision optics capabilities. "Being in a position to satisfy [OEMs'] existing need for higher-level products will bring us significant new business in the short term and growth opportunities in new areas over the longer term," Gelber said.
The Ealing optical assembly operations in Watford will report to Robin Henderson, managing director of Coherent's European Optics organization.