Trumpf acquires laser diode division of Philips

Trumpf focuses on new business fields in a deal that will see the German industrial laser giant diversify into 3D sensing and data transmission applications. Biggest acquisition to date since the acquisition of JFY in China in 2013.

Trumpf has announced that it has acquired 100 per cent of Photonics GmbH from Philips, headquartered in Ulm, Germany. This opens up a new market segment for Trumpf in addition to its existing business with high-power diode lasers and expands its product portfolio. Laser diodes from Philips Photonics are used, for example, in smartphones, in digital data transmission, and in sensors for autonomous driving. Photonics GmbH employs around 280 people.

“With this acquisition, we want to open up new product fields and expand our existing portfolio at a strategically important point,” said Trumpf boss Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller.

Through the acquisition, Trumpf will expand its access to fast-growing markets in the photonics and digital products sectors.

Lars Grünert, member of the Group Management Board, responsible for the new Trumpf product field and Chief Financial Officer, added: “Philips Photonics employs a large number of very good developers who have opened up new areas of photonics and who will strengthen our research and development area in the long term. Together we want to further develop the Photonics division.”

Trumpf invested almost 340 million euros in research and development in the past fiscal year 2017/18. This corresponds to a development ratio of 9.5 per cent.

“Since our foundation in 2000, we have grown strongly. More than half a billion cell phones worldwide are equipped with laser diode technology from Philips Photonics,” said Joseph Pankert, Business Leader of Philips Photonics.

“We are very excited to become part of Trumpf. This will ensure that the division can continue to grow in a highly innovative company in the future,” Pankert continued.

Philips Photonics is headquartered in Ulm, Germany, where the laser diodes are also manufactured in a high-tech facility. Further locations are Aachen, Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and sales offices in Shenzen, Shanghai, and Qingdao in China.

Both companies have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019. The authorities still have to approve the acquisition.

With the VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) laser diode, the light is emitted perpendicular to the plane of the semiconductor chip, in contrast to the edge-emitting laser diode, where the light exits at one or two edges of the chip. VCSEL diodes are inexpensive to manufacture.